November 2005 Archives
A few weeks ago I posed the question of whether free fonts had any place within a designer's toolkit. Having just stumbled across a nifty example of the genre, I of course have to share it with you. I'm not sure how I managed to overlook Gentium, since it's been available for several years and is a worthy effort on the part of its creator, Victor Gaultney, to help bridge the "digital divide"—the difference in access to information technology separating nations and peoples.
Can there be bacon, without eggs? Batman, without Robin? Okay, scratch that last one. But how about graphic design without words? As humans we live in language, we shape our individual and collective realities with words, so it's no surprise that mastery of the linguistic aspects of design, while often neglected, is critical for the success of any piece. Not your responsibility, as a designer? Perhaps it's your opportunity.
Let me ask you this—do you use any free software in your work as a designer? Free plugins perhaps, browsers, tools such as GIMPshop, maybe even content management systems like Mambo or entire operating systems (Linux anyone)? What about free design elements, images from the many sites providing free photos, such as image*after or morgueFile? Now here's the hard question: what about free fonts? I can almost sense your body stiffen. Free fonts, you say! Man, they suck. But what if they didn't?
I find it surprising that most training material for graphics applications is still in the form of books. After all, digital cameras, rich-media authoring tools and the video capabilities of Flash make it easy to put together slick video-based training products, whether they're delivered on CD or streamed on the net. There are a few firms that dominate the market, such as Total Training and Lynda.com, but after that it's primarily up to the graphics gurus themselves to wear yet another hat by creating and selling their own training content.
If you're over 30 I suggest you stop reading this right now and scroll down to the next post by one of the other members of the blogging community. That's right, the words that follow are not for you. You've already started building a career in the graphic arts with a clear trajectory. But if you're just starting out, or better yet still in design school, blissfully ignorant of what will befall you the day you walk out the door of your alma mater for the last time, then the meandering rant that follows is for you.