Graphic Design: Old Skool
During a recent conversation, it came up how Kinko’s just isn’t the same since being bought out by FedEx, to which I replied; remember when we used to go to Kinko’s in the middle of the night? When I was in college, pulling all-nighters was part of my routine. It didn’t matter what time it was, if I needed to rent (yes, rent) computer time, have a color copy printed or needed something cut, I’d hop in my car and drive to Kinko’s (in the middle of the night, by myself and without a cell phone I might add). This was before you could print out a decent – actually, quite good – color copy on your home computer. And I may be aging myself, but this was only the early 90’s. Graphic Design has come a long way over the years… in the late 80’s I landed a job at a typesetters – an industry that has since fallen by the wayside. For those of you scratching your heads, designers would come in with the type they needed for an ad. When they came to pick it up, their type was professionally “set” in whatever font and size they needed, with the desired spacing and alignment, so that they could then paste it up (literally) on their ad, business card or whatever they needed it for. Because you could not yet do this on your computer if you even had a computer. I always say it was an interesting time to be in school for Graphic Design, because the capabilities literally changed before my eyes. From hanging out at Kinko’s and paying $1.49 per color copy, pasting up photos and type, using amberlith masking film (remember that? They stopped making it in 2007 because of diminished demand), to having your own computer and color printer and never having to leave your home or office unless maybe you needed something bound or cut. Not too long ago I’d print my own business cards at home to save money; now I just go online and order them, and for a considerably low price I get professionally printed cards delivered right to my door.
Something else that has changed completely and makes my job so much easier, besides the obvious emailing and texting, is video calling. With Skype or other video calling applications, you don’t even have to leave your house to have a face-to-face meeting with your client. You can even share files, have them view your screen or vice versa, while at the same time wearing your slippers with your dinner simmering on the stove, or sitting in your favorite coffee house enjoying a latte. In today’s hectic world this saves time, not to mention gas, and greatly adds to the ease of servicing clients in other cities or states. Of course, nothing beats the experience of meeting clients in “real life,” but to have this option is indispensible nowadays.
So, that’s my story of days gone by, and haven’t we come a long way? I do think myself lucky that I was only in school and not a professional designer during those pre-computer days… and I would bet, just as I am reminiscing about my “old days,” that there are seasoned designers whose careers played out way before all this technology was even thought of saying “this generation has it so easy!” It makes me wonder what else lies ahead, and I can’t wait to find out.
Mac vs. PC
I received my first computer as a college graduation gift from my dad, and being the practical person that he was, he gave me a PC. I greatly appreciated this generous gift; however, it didn’t take me long to become frustrated with the non-ease of use when it came to graphic design. This was in the early 90’s, and after I landed my first job, where I worked on a Mac, I was quickly hooked. However, since then I have still used a PC at home, mainly b/c it’s more “family friendly,” though I'm sure many would disagree. I have to say, though, that Windows has come a long way since the days after my college graduation. You really can do just about anything on a PC that you can do on a Mac. Would I prefer to have a Mac? Most definitely! I plan on having one again someday. Especially because we are now a three-computer household, and I don’t have to worry about anyone else using my computer and getting confused or frustrated because they don’t “get” the Mac.
But for those of you out there who are looking and trying to decide between the two, where do you begin? There are a number of things you might want to consider.
Graphics and Sound
Apple has a long history of being the designer’s computer, thus they have focused on improving their handling of colors and fonts. On this factor alone, when comparing the Mac and PC, Mac definitely has the edge. For web design, the same results can be achieved on either platform, although it’s a good idea to test sites on both operating systems. Mac has a higher quality of sound as well, and some pretty cool music programs, so I would rate the Mac higher than the PC for musicians too.
Macs are set up with rock solid Linux based software that prevents changes from happening by accident, and with unchangeable programming that makes it close to impossible for curious users wanting to change the main functions of the computer. This definitely brings peace of mind, especially when it comes to viruses or programs being altered/deleted on your computer. For me, this gives Mac huge edge over the PC, not having to scramble so that you don't become a victim of the latest virus out there.
Ease of Use
Apple has always focused their OS on ease of use, and with each release introduces new features that improve upon the user experience. Macs integration from app to app allows for a clean workflow; but, it is true that Microsoft has greatly improved upon the user experience since the early days, and it has made a considerable difference for the PC user.
There has been a great deal of effort over the years to create a better connection between the two platforms. I can vouch for this, as in the early days, producing graphics on a PC was frustrating in comparison with the ease it took on the Mac. These days, when it comes to just creating graphics, there really isn’t that big of a difference; what I can create on the Mac, I can also create on the PC.
Macs are generally mentioned in the same sentence as graphic design because of their amazing graphics and font capabilities. Some may include ease of use as well, although I find them both easy to work on. The main drawback of the Apple used to be the price, but if you are on a budget, there is always the iMac, which is powerful enough for graphic design jobs. It is my belief that you would do just as well with a PC; however, Mac does have that edge I have been talking about, and something about using a Mac is just fun. Maybe that is the graphic designer in me. I have used a PC for years now, but Mac will always be my “first love.” In any case, be smart when shopping around, and you can get a powerful Mac for less. And of course, in the end, your creativity is the most important tool when it comes to the end result of your work.
I was over at www.career-information-technology.net and came across this fax cover letter. Apparently, it is very real and someone actually sent it, and I assume actually thought they would be considered for the job.
Wonder how that turned out?