“Homegrown” design – What impact does it have on the graphic design industry?

I am currently taking a course in Discourse & Reflection (graphic design) at Hertfordshire University. This module focuses on the sense of landscape that we work within.

For this course I have decided to research the increasingly debated topic of “home-grown designers” and the impact they have on the graphic design industry. Are you a graphic designer just because you know Photoshop? There are millions of home-grown designers out there. Most of them are self-taught. You have to admire them. But what about the core disciplines of graphic design? Most online help sites seems to give examples of how to use softwares but very little is being taught about the history of graphic design. Are we increasingly ignore these disciplines? What impact will this have on the future and the designs that are being produced? Is “home-grown” design contributing to fee hammering?

Perhaps the future forces and trends don’t paint a pretty picture, but surely in an industry undergoing such stresses and changes, it can’t only be threats! There must be lot’s of opportunities out there too!

With my research I am hoping to identify these opportunities and to take a closer look at what “home-grown” designers are actually doing to the design industry. What are they bringing in terms of innovation?

Discourse and Reflection



Digital media? Interactive media? What’s the difference?

The final year on the Master in Graphic Design has started. This year the focus is on the Major Study. I am currently looking at exploring the way that branding adapts and responds to the introduction of digital & interactive media. But before I can start all the research I need to get a better understanding about the difference between digital and interactive media? Do they have a distinct difference?

When searching for the definition of digital media it is interesting to see the variations found on the internet. On Wikipedia, digital media is discribed as a form of electronic media where data are stored in digital (as opposed to analog) form. It can refer to the technical aspect of storage and transmission (e.g. hard disk drives or computer networking) of information or to the “end product”, such as digital video, augmented reality, digital signage, digital audio, or digital art. On businessdirectory.com, digital media is described as content (text, graphics, audio, and video) that can be transmitted over internet or computer networks. And on pcmag.com digital media is described as a storage device that holds digital data, or any data generated or stored in a computer (this includes data, voice and video) But it can also be the news from a TV network, newspaper or magazine that is presented on a Web site or blog.

This is all a little bit confusing… the above gives me two different points of view. One is saying that digital media is the device that we use to store our information on and the other is telling me that it is the interactive content. So what is it!

I found an interesting article written by a man called Stephen Landau who is the Creative Director at substance.com. In his article “digital or interactive…what’s the difference?” he asks himself the exact same question. His reasoning is fascinating. He says “Digital is a medium. Interactive means people interact. It’s medium-agnostic. You can interact with a website, a physical button, and people. Interact is a verb. For many people, interactive means “web.” But then digital means web, mobile… and while that is true, it leaves out a crucial part of the equation. Conversations aren’t digital. They might be had over a digital medium, but conversations are interactions. Interactive brands are brands that don’t simply push their marketing message out to the masses. They have conversations, they have a give and take, they interact. Interactive brands are the ones who will make meaning through these interactions. The more we remind ourselves of the difference between digital and interactive, the more we think about the interaction and less about the media. And this allows us to build interactions between a sales force and their customers, between a skier and a mountain, and yes, between people and a website.”

So knowing the importance that “digital/interactive” media reaches into an organization, can that strategy be isolated to a single medium focus? This is where Stephan’s definition of interactive as “interactions between company and customer” really has strength because it is not limited by medium. It is fundamental.

Let me know what you think.

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Saint Valentine’s Day, commonly shortened to Valentine’s Day, is a holiday observed on February 14 honoring one or more early Christian martyrs named named Saint Valentine. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other. The day first became associated with romantic lovein the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the high middle ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. It was first established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD, and was later deleted from the Romain Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.

Modern Valentine’s Day symbols include the heart-shpaed outline, doves, and the figure of the winged cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting card.

Here is a Photographic copy of an early 20th Century Valentine card from the author’s collection, mounted on Basic Grey scrapbook paper, with hand-sewn ribbon around the edge.

Below is a small collection of my own Valentine cards.


I have started the rework of my second design for Dyslexia. For the moment I am still using the same letter’s as in the initial design. (Please see the earlier post <strong><a title=”Edit “MY OWN LETTER MESS”” href=”https://miam1968.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=260&amp;action=edit”>MY OWN LETTER MESS</a>).</strong> In my first attempt I have copied the letters from the initial design a multiple times and placed them all in a random way. I have placed 2 pt black outline on all letters to give a stronger feel of layers. I am not quite sure how to advance it further. I need to place the text about Dyslexia somehow without making a clutter.


In this second attempt I have drawn a typical “pop-corn” carton (to make the message more child oriented) and placed a mountain of letters on top/inside the carton. Some  letters are hanging out of the carton to create an overflow feel. I have also made some letters fall to the ground. After evaluating my work for this one, I have made the decision not to continue the development as it doesn’t communicate a relationship with Dyslexia.