Dec 3, 2012

Design and technical skills

Today's graphic designer must have a good working skill of professional creative software like Adobe's Creative Suite. Adobe tells us that the minimum Design Standard suite consists of the following pieces of software:

  1. Photoshop: A pixel-based software that can do amazing things for images but is limited by the number of pixels in the original image.  As a result, it is most appropriate for photo editing (the amateur version is Photoshop Elements, or even an iPhone can do elementary photo-editing)
  2. Illustrator: A vector-based software for images.  The benefit is that the image can be enlarged without losing its resolution, for more flexible output as well as for more detail editing, like a designer can zoom in as much as he wants without losing the details.  The core tool for the graphic designer.
  3. Adobe In-Design: A vector-based software with lower functionality when compared with Illustrator but has added features for creating complex book layouts as well as for making PDF presentation.
Our architecture, our fashion designer, and, of course, our jewelry designers, all have to be proficient in their respective technical skills.  And things had not been different in the past.  During the period of the  Renaissance, when it was finally fully open or legit to paint personal portraits for the common people, painters and artists had to compete among themselves to win the most lucrative clients.  With the supporting industries like pigments manufacturing still budding, to deliver what markets called a unique selling point, painters in the 14th and 15th centuries oftentimes had to prepare special colors from natural ingredients by themselves, and keeping such formula as secret as today's Coke formula.

With progress in division of labor, in today's established design studios, some specialists will only be responsible for editing photos while others will only do vector-based graphic designs.  The art director may not be proficient in any technical skills but he will certainly need to be knowledgeable about their capabilities and therefore can instruct his subordinates to venture into solving technical design problems.  Such problems that he believes able to be solved, although he may be less than technical to solve the problem himself.

In today's jewelry workshop, a special-purpose telescope for micro-setting small gem-stones is a must.  A jewelry design like me need not (and usually not) be able to do the job as good as the best craftsman, but surely we must be able to create great designs that can challenge the technical skills of our best stone-setters.  In all industries, good designs usually demand the employment of the state-of-the-art technical skills.

Telescope for micro-setting gem stones

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