There is a seriously interesting conversation going on right now about the Dying Art of Design – that phrase taken from the article of the same name written by Francisco Inchauste, posted over on Smashing Mag. If I can water down the argument for the sake of brevity, it’s basically about the fact that designers nowadays know less, touch less and as a result, are less…inspired and inspiring.  I’m wondering how you guys feel about this.

I have to say, I kind of agree that Photoshop and Illustrator and any other program you can think of has made us a bit more complacent when it comes to uh, thinking. Certainly software has helped us all streamline our processes, create marvelous effects and hilarious gifs but I do think we are missing out on a lot that the old masters couldn’t have done without. Things like using our hands, pencils and paper. Making textures from scraps of paper instead of downloading them.

I know many of you do work with your hands, but I’m wondering how many of us do it in the workplace or for paying clients. Thinking back in my career, I can’t really remember anyone pulling out some vellum and rulers or even a sketchpad. Isn’t that horrible! I’m guilty of sitting in front of a computer. All. Day. Long. Are you?

Francisco mentions that most of the articles designers read are brief, mainly inspiration links and tutorials. Hardly anyone pays attention to lengthy, in-depth articles on theory or history. I’m pretty sure this statistic (and the problems that one could argue arise from it) could be extended to pretty much anything. Particularly politics, science, art, hip hop, etc. It’s easy to get inflamed and start pointing fingers. It’s much more difficult and time consuming to find the root of a problem and develop a solution, right?

Also, as far as technology goes I find myself saying “back in the good old days” way too much. I was not even born in the good old days. But just to illustrate my point that new things that are convenient are not always 100% better, I pulled the image above from the Economist. It’s from an article about how Starbucks opened up shop in Bejing’s ancient Forbidden City. Now, I love me some coffee but, Forbidden Lattes? I don’t know, feels so wrong. Feels like it ruins history somehow. Similar to how Photoshop action packs may have ruined photography?

However, since statistically the cards are stacked against anyone actually reading this article (I know, so many words) – here is a bunch of inspirational images for you to steal! Woohoo!!!!

Here are some drawings of Monasteries from Moscow – could make a totally sweet Etsy header, yeah?

Or, how about a playing card from Iceland – I see this as a She + Him poster because the illustration reminds me of Hitler. Two things I really dislike. Just run with it…

Or how about this photograph of some Russian women…looks like they just read this article! Zing.

Seriously guys, feeding your design brain is necessary. Education, curiosity, epic failure and valiant triumphs-all so very necessary. So go out, do something with your hands. If nothing else, at least listen to this Lil Wayne track and live in awe of the wonderment that lives in his head if not in yours…yet.

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