You'll enjoy that series, for sure. But while you're there take a root around the rest of Jay's site, because it's pretty damn good. I must admit that whilst I appreciate a good photograph, I'm not in the habit of hanging around photographers' web sites, for fear of the Flash (you know what I mean, I'm sure). but Jay seems to adopt a more down-to-earth approach to both his work and its presentation.
Which is explained no doubt by his upbringing, which he describes thus "I’m a 5th generation Texan who was born to two working class parents from South Texas. They taught me that wealth comes and goes but you’ve always got your stories. Most importantly, my parents taught me that you are who you meet."
And you'll behave yourself while you're there, won't you now?
But here's the thing: I want to multi-task; I want to be designing layouts, be emailing and blogging, and doing on-line presentations, all at the same time; and from anywhere, not just behind my desk. It's one of the reasons why I love my computer. And I get irritated by anything that prevents me from doing that easily. And there's one piece of software, in particular, that does. And in my view my its days are numbered.
I'm reminded of the guest post from Kevin, when he was reminded about something that I wrote some time ago: "the tools that designers used 20 years ago are not the tools we use now. Right now the Macintosh with Adobe Creative Suite is the standard of the industry, but it won't always be."
And I'm sitting here, in eager anticipation, waiting for the future to arrive. Because it will make my working life easier.
I know that I may be a lot older than most of you reading this, so this might come as some sort of a surprise, but I love my computer. Absolutely love it. Actually, not the computer itself (though I do love that as well). No, it's what it allows me to do that I love. Take yesterday for instance: I did three design presentations to people in London, Dorset and Ghana (yes, that Ghana). The day before that was spent liaising over proofs with people in Belgium. All from my little desk here, overlooking the station in the middle distance, watching the trains come and go. And that's what my computer - and the internet - allows me to do. That's quite apart from keeping you lot amused on here.
It's wonderful, it really is. I know that a lot of designers of my generation (and many a lot younger) have come to resent the computer. Thinking that in some way it saps their creativity. And many still hanker after the days of hot-metal setting and woodblocks. Indeed, some of them even return there - or are discovering for the first time the particular frisson of getting ink on their fingers. Each to his own, that's what I say. I wouldn't for the world deny them those opportunities. But it's not for me. No, I love computing power.
And PDFs. They're a marvelous invention, aren't they? The fact that I can transmit proofs anywhere in the world at any time of the day or night. And that I can confidently send artwork off to printers and know exactly what the printed result will be.
But there's a fly in the ointment. And it's this: my growing frustration with InDesign (and it's ever-burgeoning Creative Suite). Just getting the thing going in the morning and opening the first document must surely be harder work than enticing a 17 year-old down to the breakfast table. Because it has to remember where my fonts are and where all the linked images are stored. And lot's of other tedious stuff that I'm not really interested in - because, after all, I'm paying it to take care of all of that stuff.
Then when we get going it's all fine and dandy for a while. But then things get complicated. Because I want to open several documents at a time (look, I'm working on a book; each chapter has a separate document; and I like to compare, say, something I did in chapters 2 and 4 to what I'm thinking about for chapter 8; it's not such a big deal, is it?). But guess what? I'm given the finger, but dressed in the guise of this little fella:
Then it's time to create a PDF proof. And you know what's coming next, don't you?
But the PDF proof is too large to email, or it will take hours, not minutes, to FTP it. So I have to open it up in Acrobat and reduce the file size. And...
I must have looked at him a hundred times yesterday. Time when I could have been doing something else. Like writing posts on here. But it doesn't like me sharing my attention with another program. No, it will go into a sulk. And slowly reduce the rate of the little fella's spin.
And I'm fed up with it.
Am I the only one?
(And, no, wild horses wouldn't drag me back to Quark XPress.)
With today's Guardian comes a special supplement for all you freshers out there - a guide to the pitfalls and pleasures of starting out at university. At the risk of appearing to have turned into Angry Paul Rand, here's some advice from me: if graphic design is going to be your subject, take note that an inch mark is not - I repeat, NOT - an acceptable substitute for an apostrophe.
(Unless you're posting text on a blog.)
UPDATE: Josh is perfectly correct (see the comment below) - it's not an inch mark at all, but a single (or ambidextrous) straight quote. Stupid me. Of course I knew that. The pitfalls of posting when you're in a rush, eh? The message was rammed home to me when I was checking my web stats this morning and discovered that somebody's found my web site by searching for 'stupid hyde'.