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Interview: Craig Ward talks graphic design lies and why you should stop hating Comic Sans

Neil Bennett | Oct. 29, 2012
We speak to the designer and art director about his book Popular Lies About Graphic Design.

CW: "Without question. There will always be work for very good photographers and very good designers.

"But I honestly think stock images, elements, icons, templates, etc are like cigarettes; every time you use one you take five minutes off your career.

"Portfolio sites especially - like that Indexhibit thing. I mean seriously? You can't be bothered to design your own fucking website? What kind of message does that send to your clients? Template sites are something that should be used by people who don't know how to design and don't want to have to deal with finding a designer they like and who they can afford. They're the equivalent of Prontaprint or something.

NB: You might get 99 per cent of your approaches by email or phone, but you're an established name in the industry. Do newcomers still need to move to near a creative hub - if not London, then say Manchester, Leeds, Brighton, etc - for networking, seeing clients face to face or just to have a day job at an agency while they get themselves established?

CW: "I think it's different for everyone. My first commissions came in over email because I had taken the time to create a set of promotional postcards as mail-outs. This was long before I was anything in industry. I mailed them out to magazines I wanted to work at, followed up with a call or an email and then they eventually came back with work. I could've been based anywhere at that point.

"As it happens, I was in London at the time and I did have a day job - that I didn't enjoy. It was the lack of enjoyment I was having that gave me the impetus to start making noise about myself. I think it's important for everyone to find their own way through it though."

NB: Did you choose to phrase some of the 'lies' just to provoke a reaction? For example, you say 'people care about design' but then go on to explain that you mean aesthetic design rather than Donald Norman-esque design-as-usability.

CW: "The hardest thing about putting a book together, I found, was giving people reasons to keep turning the page and reigning myself in. My work and my working methods are different from project to project and I very rarely use the same technique twice. That's fine on one-off projects but, there has to be a uniformity to a book; a pace and a rhythm to stop it feeling disjointed.

"There was the matter of it being translated into different languages to bear in mind, so I had limit myself with regards to what I did to the chapter headers. The headlines, therefore, became important so, to an extent perhaps a couple of them are slightly more inflammatory than they could be but, with that said, I didn't make any of them up - they were all heard in conversation, in forums online and in articles I had read so, my conscience is clear."


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