Know Your Medium. Iconic Advice


I’ve always said I was a print guy so I try to look at typography very closely. Animation was mad cool and I love the end results, usually, but I was never good at it. Advanced kinematics, and I’m like huh? I love what animators do, but I know my strengths. I thought about illustration but I wasn’t always the best illustrator in the class. 6th grade, Ms. Pithy class, Myself, Ricci Steez, Easy, Tyquan, and Adam used to compete for the best Dragon Ball Z illustrations. But that was way back then. I can do illustration but that’s secondary. Typographers, well, you just have to have a good eye for it and love type. I use to pride myself on penmanship. Hill Curtis leaves us with a little advice on finding your niche.

Knowing your medium is so important to the end result of any project we create. The medium or means of what you create can dictate the what and the how of your idea. Hillman curtis tells us in this edition of Iconic advice (from the pages of Computer Arts Magazine) to “Know your medium” – Taking advice from a person who has pushed the boundaries of the web and film is extremely relevant.

Definition of medium (a) The way or channels of general communication, information or entertainment as newspapers, radio or television — (b) an intervening agency, means, or instrument by which something is conveyed or accomplished.

Medium is how we communicate. It is the web, it is print, it is video, it is the canvas or the empty space. We need to be fully aware of where our pieces will be viewed and accommodate our design and artwork for those arenas. We as the designers can decide to stay within the limitation of our medium or chose to push the boundaries. I can only speak for myself, but without the knowledge of what my medium is, whether it be print or web, I could not know how to push myself further.

As a web designer, and I use this term very loosely, there are limitations that are within my knowledge and what the web can produce. These help to structure the work I may produce.I, like the rest of need to factor in audience, monitor sizes, various browser support, computer type (PC vs Mac), image quality, color (RGB) & bandwidth. All these factor come in to play as we design websites, flash animation or advertisements.

Ever wonder why some sites say that the are best viewed at a certain screen resolution? You need to upgrade your version of Adobe Flash? You are missing a plug-in? This will not work on a Mac? This is because as a viewer we are so used to see things in perfect harmony that once that harmony is broken what we see can become vastly different from what the designer intended.

As a print designer, there are various types of user experiences: magazines, posters, flyers, books, logos, fashion … etc. I need to be aware of the final size, budget limitation, color limitations, paper qauilty. Print is about he personal user experience and how it’s affects each of its viewers. Even though it has the option to be viewed by a large audience the way upon which it can be seen can alter a viewers perception of the piece.

How different do you design knowing that you are doing a 2 color poster rather than a full color one? What is your strategy for design for a YouTube video? How do you design that logo if it will only be used on a business card?


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