Design is not pretend

Design is not pretend


“Design at its best is a portrayal of what’s true, and it’s a portrayal of reality. It’s not pretend.” _John McWade.

John McWade is the founder of Before & After, and senior staff of

Design, Art direction, Post 
By Philip Abang


Verse 11. Mastery



There is the temptation to have our fingers in every pie. With growing societal and personal demands, it seems like our craft is no longer enough to sustain these demands. The underlying pressures stretches us to become almost everything from photographers, designers, writers, illustrators, bloggers, entrepreneurs, business owners, and the list goes on.

Graphic design is said to be everything. Look around and you find design everywhere, from packaging, logos [Identity design], branding, collateral design, environmental design, iconography, information design [infographics], posters, advertising, editorial, motion graphics, you name it.

As a graphic designer there is the pressure to be good at all the above. However, you can master any of the above and still do well. For example, there are prolific poster or logo designers whose sole earning comes from mastering the art of logo or poster design. Same can be said with editorial, motion design or any other.

Michael Bierut is a prolific logo designer. Also, Milton Glaser known for the ‘I NY’ logo is a prolific poster designer. These famous designers are specialist in their craft. Other graphic designers worth mentioning that I admire and to many are role models include Stefan Sagmeister, Massimo Vignelli, Paula Scher, David Carson [Exploratory Typography], Sean Adams, Bonnie Siegler, Jonathan Barnbrook, Erik Spiekermann, Saul Bass (Title Designer), Edward R. Tufte (Information design), Kyle Cooper (Title Designer), Vince Frost, Margo Chase, John McWade and Ina Saltz. These designers are masters in their craft from environmental design, exploratory typography, identity design, branding, motion, editorial, exhibition, interior design, type design, and teaching design.

Today’s designers are asked to be all of the above. Honestly, that takes your entire life trying to master everything, and I’m afraid to say, there is a chance you remain master of none.

Bruce Lee’s quote denotes a case of mastery in a specific area. The Principle of Specificity indicates that one becomes skilled in a particular area. Nonetheless, mastery requires persistent practice, from fundamental to advance, and from advance to mastery.

I admire those with a signature style. A style that can be pinned to a particular individual in any work of life. I still strive to attain mastery in a specific area in graphics, with 10,000x practice that is achievable I will say.

Lest I forget, Bruce Lee was a genius in his craft.

Design, Creative direction, Post
By Philip Abang