An Education part II: inward facing with Frank Chimero

Published:  August 18, 2015


Frank Chimero

‘Inward Facing’ is part 2 of a 4-part mini interview series on design education, from the August/September desktop. 



What assumptions do you think are commonly made about the design profession, and how do these limit the way work is approached or disseminated?

Many clients, companies and even designers take for granted how disruptive a design process can be. First, you’re redesigning a website, but in doing so you expose the inefficiencies of the company’s communication methods or organisation. A rigorous design process reveals fundamental flaws or incongruencies because it is a collaborative act that forces everyone to be specific. It is a process of articulation, so design frequently exposes the vagueness that is often easily dismissed or overlooked.

Illustration by Daniel H Gray.

Illustration by Daniel H Gray.

How can designers learn to translate from one medium to another, and how might this expand design decisions and systems?

You simply have to get started. As with most things, some knowledge about the limitations of each medium will help guide your hand. For instance, the liberty in colour use onscreen is tempered by screen’s still inferior typographic capabilities (though this is rapidly improving). So, what can you do if you are making something for both? What doors that were closed with the old medium are now open with the new one? Is that an opportunity for something to come to life?

How can designers approach and use situations of ‘not knowing’?

Accept not knowing as an asset. Think like a scientist or journalist. Do new things and reach out in different directions. New skills don’t come from old habits.

What is the biggest opportunity in design today?

I’m interested in design across multiple mediums, because more communication is happening across more streams. I think the adaptation of brands across all of this will be seen similarly as the expansion of global brands in the 50s and 60s. But aside from all of that, I think the biggest opportunity in design is the same as it always was: being genuinely useful and steady.

Frank Chimero is a designer who writes, splitting his time between making his own books, and designing websites and publications for clients through his studio, Another. 

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