Design

Enough with the CV Infographics

I've been noticing these for a while, mostly on student designers' résumés or curriculum vitae and they've always struck me as remarkably pointless. Lately though I've seen them spreading beyond the world of graphic design and—horror of horrors—actually being praised by people who should know better.

 Pretty. Meaningless.

Pretty. Meaningless.

The idea seems straightforward enough: Turn some element of your skill-set, such as software skills, into an easily-understood graphic that makes it simpler for prospective employers to scan your cv, and simultaneously impress them with your creative design skills. Hey, everybody loves an infographic, right?

Wrong. These things make no sense for a couple of reasons:

1.  Your skills are not a number. Ok. If you're measuring something that's actually quantifiable, such as the number of a given series of classes you've taken, then perhaps you can express it as a number or a percentage. Otherwise it's meaningless to suggest that your Photoshop skills are 65% as compared to your Illustrator score of 85%. The two probably aren't expressible on the same scale, and I have no idea what 100% would even look like. If you're in doubt, ask yourself this: If Ireached 100% on this scale, could I imagine improving even more? 

2. A single number doesn't warrant a chart. There's really good, precise and unambiguous way of expressing something like 75%. Here it is: 75%. Want to show that you've completed fifteen of a possible twenty classes? This is it: 15/25. You're welcome. If you're a designer, and you can't demonstrate your ability to choose the appropriate (usually the simplest) visual form for a given piece of information then I won't be hiring you.

Can we all agree to a moratorium on this nonsense, and get back to fixing things that are actually broken? 

 

 

Developing Web Strategies for Creative Enterprise

In August I was fortunate enough to be named as one of this year's Learning & Teaching Fellows at BIAD, with a programme that helps Masters degree students in Visual Communication make effective use of Web and online media in their developing creative practices. We'd piloted this earlier in the year, taking 38 students in a range of creative disciplines through a three-week programme to deconstruct their day-to-day practices and think about how they'd rebuild them using available online tools. As you might expect, social media tools featured heavily in students' strategies, and a significant number of them have continued to use their networks effectively after graduation, building reputation in their fields, securing jobs, and developing credibility.

The Fellowship Award is to allow us to develop the strategies for wider application and to make teaching materials available as a resource to other postgraduate and undergraduate courses in BIAD, and potentially further afield. We're also planning to publish a guide in ebook form. If you've experiences to share, or if you're part of a creative academic programme which might benefit from getting involved, get in touch sharl@mac.com.