Finally getting around to posting this talk that I the pleasure of attending last year as part of Build conference, an annual web and design conference in Belfast. Bit of background info on Jessica (although she explains it much better herself in her talk) in a sentence: Jessica Hische is a really funny, down to earth, letterer. http://www.jessicahische.is/
Because I saw this talk so long ago I’ve had time to look back on it with some perspective and I have to say it was one of the most invaluable. I feel so lucky that I got to see it in my first year in university and could only wish that I saw it earlier! (Although I don’t know if it would have had such an impact on me then.)
The four main things that are still with me from this talk is as follows:
-The importance of a visual library.
This is one message that I keep hearing over and over and I really believe it is true. It’s the main reason why I keep raiding the library (so much so that the librarians have started recognizing me) and reading books cover to cover when really I only need to be focusing on a few pages.
It’s also one of the main reasons for this site. I always hear names and then never follow up on them. So hopefully I can use this blog to actually take a closer look at the work that I like and work out why I like it. There is no better feeling for me (at the moment) than when I flick through a book and recognize contributors names, or see a blog post and know who they are talking about and know automagically who that person is and what other work that they have done. Having that context I find is really helpful, and though there is still so much I don’t know I feel like I’m finally starting to get somewhere these days.
I don’t think that you can underestimate the importance of a good visual catalog of knowledge. You could see so clearly last year those who had some kind of knowledge of graphic designer before they entered the course compared to those who didn’t. It made all the difference with final outcomes, those who little or no knowledge -no matter how passionate and how much effort they put in just couldn’t compare to those with the good visual background. Below is a funny and lighthearted diagram by Jessica which shows pretty clearly how important it is to take an active interest in design.
(click through to a larger version)
-It doesn’t matter what you do so long as you do it well.
I feel like there is a lot of pressure these days to be a jack of all trades and a master of none, so it’s nice to have someone championing the idea and importance of specialization. I do think that whenever you are just starting out that it’s good to be forced to try lots of different things (how else are you gonna know what you have an aptitude or passion for?) but to say that you MUST know how to use all these things and enjoy it all can seem very daunting and off putting when you are just starting out.
-The importance of being a person.
Another reason for this blog and although I do feel that some of my previous posts are kind of me from a distance so there isn’t a lot of personality in them, might just be the nature of a review. But in posts like this I hope that people can see I am an actual person. It’s nice to be reminded that there are actual people behind the scenes making things happen. And as a fellow internet person I can really relate to Jessica and I can definitely see how her not just being a faceless website has add so much more value and interest to the work she does.
“The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”
Not much I can add to that really!
So if you haven’t already listened to her wonderful personal talk on her life and career then I really hope this post has convinced you! And if you have the time or are interested in her other non-work related websites here are a link to a few of them:
http://icanhazartschool.com/ A fine selection of her embarrassing high school and undergrad work.
http://dailydropcap.com/ Her most famous side project, some really beautiful examples to see here.
http://momthisishowtwitterworks.com/ All in the name, explaining how twitter works for non-twits.
http://theinternetsendsmecake.com/ Not sure if this is updated any more but it was mentioned in her talk so I thought I might as well add a for your convenience link.
http://shouldiworkforfree.com/ An invaluable flow chart to anyone in the creative field.