Art Directed I don’t really consider myself a Designer

In my professional life, I work primarily as I developer. I spend my days in text editors and fixed-width fonts. Of course, I’ve often got Photoshop running, working from a comp designed by an art director. All of that is to say this: I don’t really consider myself a designer professionally.

Now this may be self-deprecating or unfair, as I spent a large part of my past professional endeavors doing design work. In fact, while not up to par with a real graphic design program, my undergraduate included a strong foundation in design fundamentals. In many shops, including those I’ve worked in the past, situations require this kind of cross-disciplinary ability. That’s great and all, but I’ve always been of the mindset that it takes a very special kind of person to be a good designer and developer. (In fact, I can only think of a few people I would truly consider good at both.) I’ve also always been mindful of what I now understand as the creative gap between taste and ability. That is, my design work rarely meets my expectations.

This is my fault of course, as I’ve been focused on the finer aspects of web development, invariably leaving my skills as a web designer withering. But, today that (hopfully) changes (a little bit.) Today, I plan to start art-directing individual articles on this site. This idea is inspired by Jason Santa Maria, Khoi Vinh and Liz Danzico, among others. This will give me the opportunity to explore the finer points of content-focused layout and design for the web. It’s a stress-free environment for me, where the pressures of professional quality requirements are excitingly absent. I don’t necessarily plan on doing custom work for every article. But, the framework is now in place, both technically and psychologically, to make it happen when I want.

Now to see if I can manage to take good advantage of it…