Web Design Training for Art Directors

Its not always easy for traditional art directors to pick a web designer

It's not always easy for traditional art directors to pick a web designer

I had a two-fer today. Not only did I find an interesting new blog, the blog from web design firm DSGN + DVLP called the chronicle of a designerd, I also read one of the entries and learned of a course that the blog author — Daniel Schutzsmith — had been teaching at School of Visual Arts called Web Design for Art Directors. Now I don’t know if the course is still being offered — the link provided in the entry only leads to an error page, not to a page offering a description of the class — nor do I think that I personally would be interested in taking the class. I do, however, think the course is a great idea.

With interaction design now such an integral part of almost every marketing, advertising, branding and communications strategy, many art directors and creative directors are grappling with the challenge of of needing to step out of their comfort zones and at times lead projects that involve significant digital components. Years ago, these creatives would have been secure in the reality that such tasks would fall on the web team down the hall and that they would be relied on to lead projects for which they had been trained and had years — if not decades — of experience but today that is not the case.

So where to begin? For someone who doesn’t do this every day, how can they evaluate the skills of web designers? How do they evaluate interactive design strategy to decide which is best for their client? An even better question is, where does one easily find the information they need to bring them up to speed in digital design 101, not from an entry-level designer’s perspective but from the perspective of a senior creative?

For this there are no easy answers. A course is a good idea because over the length of a semester concepts, terminology and case studies can be presented without overloading the course participants. I even think a digital course wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Not everyone is in NYC where they would have the ability to take courses at School of Visual Arts. Also, digital courses would indirectly provide an extra case study for the course, which could illustrate the potential of digital and interactive techniques.

During the early to mid-90′s, I essentially gobbled up every book, magazine article, web tutorial and internet discussion I could in order to make the transition from traditional design to print. How great would it have been if there was some sort of resource that could have helped me along? If anyone out there is currently putting something like this together, I’ll gladly help spread the word!


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