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Don't discourage kids from taking up design


The last time I was back in the UK, an old friend was telling me about his son who was about to finish high school and was interested in a job in design.

Apparently, he was rare among his classmates because TV shows like CSI had made people want to go into fields like forensics and ballistics. Fair enough - I was interested in forensics work when I was younger, until I found out that it required a lot of science and science wasn't exactly my strong point.

What bothered me was that my friend's son was being actively discouraged from pursuing design by careers advisers because there "isn't much call for logos and things."

First of all, there's thankfully tons of call for logos, otherwise many designers (myself included) would never make any money.

Second, the other "things" that designers have a hand in include the clothes you're wearing, the house you're living in, the things they're all made from, the device you're reading this on, the fonts that are allowing you to read it, the chair you're sitting on, the transport you're using, and, yeah, pretty much everything else.

It's frankly rude to reduce design to 'making things look nice'. And it's a dereliction of a careers adviser's duty to allow their personal, uninformed and petty prejudices affect the impartial advice they should be giving.

We shouldn't be discouraging kids from taking up design if they express an interest in it.

In fact, we should be encouraging it because it opens up a lot of other avenues. I'll talk about those next time.


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