Type design critiques should cost some money



  • K PeaseK Pease Posts: 182
    Critique, ultimately, is opinion. Opinion is better offered freely and honestly, so that those who are in receipt of it can discard it if they disagree, secure that they have lost nothing. It is not meant to be a relationship of following instructions, and a transaction can edge it toward being like that. If you are willing to pay someone to fix something for you, or do something better than you can, you may as well pay them to actually do it, not to tell you how to do it.
  • It’s not superficial, but it is easier to give. For me at least.
    Off-topic, but in my opinion a thing that is never necessarily pointed out in beginners' threads is that the letters are badly drawn. I mean dreadfully badly. Why one would go into minute details when basically he/she still have to learn to draw.
    And I would also stress that it’s more difficult to have an immediate visual feedback when you draw directly with bezier curves. When you draw with bezier curves you are already sensible to the nature of the curves. This goes even for “constructed" letterforms, in my opinion.
  • @Thomas Phinney The fundamental concepts are easy for you to point out only because you spent years absorbing them.  :-)  The nitty-gritty of technical refinement is a different animal.

    K Pease said:
    Critique, ultimately, is opinion.

    Well everything is opinion (because Truth is unknowable) but experience refines opinion, and the dedication required to keep learning is worth encouraging via reward. For example it took me a few years of paying attention to realize why (and thereby be able to opine that) descenders need to be shorter than ascenders (in a text font). A dabbler who hasn't grasped that (yet) should have less chance at reward otherwise dedication is discouraged, and Culture suffers.
  • André G. IsaakAndré G. Isaak Posts: 626
    edited June 2021
    One problem with this approach is that if you start charging people for feedback, that could imply that they're getting some sort of professional service. While it's true that there are many accomplished type designers on the board, there are also hobbyists, such as myself, who occasionally offer suggestions. I wouldn't want anyone being misled into thinking that my suggestions qualify as 'professional advice' rather than simply suggestions made on a discussion forum.
  • What is "professional"? Does it mean somebody made a poor life decision?  ;-)

    Some of the richest type designers are also the most boring.

    Culture > Money
  • André G. IsaakAndré G. Isaak Posts: 626
    edited June 2021
    replace 'professional' with 'competent'/'experienced'/'knowledgable' if you prefer.
  • @Ray Larabie Well there was one about a plug-in for muting people.
  • Simon CozensSimon Cozens Posts: 722
    edited June 2021
    I gained a lot of useful wisdom from the critiques I received when I was just getting started with type design. And so I am very, very grateful that there is an environment where some of the really top people in the field pitch in to offer help and advice to absolute beginners. It's amazing, and doesn't really happy very much in other disciplines. Let's not lose that.

    However, when it got to issues beyond the basics - obvious errors of proportions, spacing, curve correctness, etc. - and more into aesthetic decisions, to be honest, I've found forum-based critique considerably less helpful. First, you get the old problem of different voices with different preferences pulling you in different directions, which means - like all criticism, of course - you have to discern who you want to listen to. If you try to follow all the advice, you generally end up either totally confused about which way to go or with a boring, design-by-committee font at the end. That doesn't mean that any of the individual pieces of advice are bad, just that there's an averaging effect.

    And there's a meaningful difference between advice from people - with all the best will in the world and who are undoubtedly being generous and volunteering their expertise - who are answering the question "How would I make this font better?" and those who are thinking "How can I help the designer best achieve what they are trying to do?" Not all those who contribute to critique threads on here are answering the second question...

    More to the point, though, I've come to the conclusion that this kind of advice is best received in the context of a meaningful relationship. A good critique is one where the designer can have some back-and-forth and say, "Actually, I'd somehow like to keep this particular element because I'm trying to achieve this goal", and the critiquer can say "Well, if you want to achieve that, then you need to harmonise it in this way", and so on. In theory that's possible on a forum, I'm sure, but in my experience it tends to get crushed in the pile-on.

    I think what I'm saying is that if individuals want to make themselves available for offering closer mentoring off-line, then that will be a win for everyone.
  • @Simon Cozens Many good points. Especially the part about helping somebody find their own path, versus getting them on your path; this is a high challenge, and to me the mark of a true teacher. BTW that happens even (more so?) in private. I remember about twenty years ago showing Patria to a Very Famous Designer for feedback, and he promptly detailed exactly how to make it more chirographic like his work... Of course he thought he was being very generous with his time. But maybe my expectations were too high. So: always be filtering, public or private.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,374
    @Hrant H. Papazian
    Actually no. Now that I've thought about it, this is worse. If that feature were available and someone who was growing fatigued with a certain user's edgelord behavior decided to block them it wouldn't affect anyone else. Sure, it's bad but this one is worse.
  • Yves MichelYves Michel Posts: 144
    I just want to chime in and say that this is the uncoolest thread on this forum ever.
    I totally agree! Absolutely not what I was expecting from this forum.
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • @Yves Michel It's certainly true that cost is not fully correlated to quality or usefulness. Prime example:

    A left slanted font can be used in advertisements if the text runs diagonal from top-left to bottom-right. Then the letters are upright and nice to read. Saw this style in old newspapers ~1910.
  • Off-topic, but in my opinion a thing that is never necessarily pointed out in beginners' threads is that the letters are badly drawn. I mean dreadfully badly. Why one would go into minute details when basically he/she still have to learn to draw.
    I do find myself breaching this topic in critique threads every now and then, even if it feels like a discouraging thing to say to a newcomer. That's because people said it to me back when I started, and I really did need to hear it (even though I found it frustrating to hear).
  • @Simon Cozens: I agree that receiving lots of free critique can shift from incredibly useful to just exhausting and numbing as one's own proficiency grows. (From some critics more than others.) It's a small price to pay for that «incredibly useful» phase, though. And I suppose it's a healthy exercise for a designer to practice maintaining one's creative vision against exterior pressure.
    If critique ends up more trouble than it's worth, it's easy enough to just stop posting about one's WIP.
  • Michael RafailykMichael Rafailyk Posts: 141
    edited June 2021
    Well, I'm a person who just did an early steps on the road. But here some things about the topic. Sorry for many letters and for my terrible English.

    On one hand — the world is changing. Everything is going online and here a place for income. We working less with a hands and brutal power but more with using our head and creativity. Knowledge and experience is matter and other people need to pay to get it (if they can). I'm agree with it.

    On other hand — why does the world need Design? In my mind, the design (never mind, it is a font, message, illustration, idea, etc.) is a way to communicate with a world around us with a better way. The reason why I leave my regular job in a Branding agency (where I spend 8 years) is their strategy that doesn't make a world better, at all. I believe, Design is a thread between the customer and the product. The thread between me and this optical mouse, between me and this text on the screen. We feel enjoy when we see a nice design. We happy when some product/event/idea hit our heart (the Best Design that all design should be). We feels bad when we see a really poor design. The bad design happens because of many reasons, especially including a lack of education of who did it.

    Now we can compare a both of sides described above. On one hand — beginners need to pay for education. It is natural selection, the strongest survive. If one want to be good — pay for that. But not everyone is ready for this of some reasons and it's complicated. Here the point when the world can lose a many of talented people, because of money question and support question. If experienced people does not help them, the Bad design happens.

    So, where is the golden mean? Do we want to fill the world with a good design or do we want to make a money because we need it for survive? My opinion can be unpopular, but if I see the talented one who want to make the world better — I help him without expecting anything. If I see the other one who just want to make a money and who don't care about the world and the design at all — I send him to hell. This is the way. But that way is not commercial.

    I see this place like a sandbox where Type Drawers discuss the ideas and learning, doesn't mind how experienced we all are. The world is changing, we need to learn all the time. If we think we knows everything — we loses the opportunity to grow. I could be wrong, but someone of moderators accept my request to this beautiful community, I hope, because of this paragraph. This is why i love this place and respect people here, people, who learn from each other.

    And yet, where is the golden mean?.. Asking people doesn't need to decide which one answer is better. He can donate every one who give a profit to him. If two or more experts bring some shiny ideas to him — asking people can donate all of them. I see it like a button, that I can push if the answer make me happy and if I'm available to pay. When I push this optional button, the expert will get donate with a quote he left.
  • Helmut Wollmersdorfer said:
    A left slanted font can be used in ....
    OK sure but did you see the price?
  • Helmut Wollmersdorfer said:
    A left slanted font can be used in ....
    OK sure but did you see the price?
    I saw the price after writing the above comment. Watched the video shortly later.

    IMHO an experienced graphic designer will just slant any font he wants and modify the 10-20 letters he needs in an advertisement or logo as they do in most cases for this type of work. But if the customer pays it, they will order the license. Which will not happen.
  • Sorry to see James’ departure.
    I’ve always valued his posts.
    Same here.
    BTW he's sort of the reason TypeDrawers was created.
    I consider it impertinent to randomly direct others in matters of taste and technique.
    That's where helping others find their own way is the key. Yes, super hard. But we're the ones best qualified to attempt it, so it becomes a duty.
  • @Mark Simonson I thought it was originally James Puckett, who tellingly had had JM as a mentor, and disagreed with the reaction to what I for one consider to have been "digital vandalism" on Typophile on the part of JM.

    But what really matters is:
    Is TypeDrawers doing better? (And what's the reason there are virtually zero women?)
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,458
    James, I still owe you a beer!
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,648
    edited June 2021
    Typophile had some major problems, like not being very well maintained, overrun with comment spam, overrun with type id requests, image upload dependent on Flash (at least at the time TypeDrawers started). TypeDrawers isn't perfect, but at least it's technically functional and not flooded with spam and type id requests.

    A key thing was to make a place that focussed mainly on type design, and I think it does succeed at that.

    I don't know why there aren't more women here. I can think of a lot of type designers who are women who are not here. Then again, I can think of a lot of type designers who are men who are not here. Thinking of the regulars here, it's a small subset of the type design world, and maybe not particularly representative for that reason. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Sorry it's like 95% Western men working on Latin. Even the gaudy spamfest of Twitter has much more diversity.
  • DrawcardDrawcard Posts: 51
    I'm on TD because in Australia, the type design community is pretty small and most design institutions here focus on print / web / digital design, rather than type. So it's great having a forum like this, where I can virtually hang out with other like minded people! I also just love the insight coming from people of all backgrounds and experiences, it's invaluable.

    I want to add that I'm sorry to see James has left, although I didn't agree with his idea, it wasn't anything personal by any means. I hope he might join again one day.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,374
    Now I feel like awful; I shouldn't have said anything. If you're reading this, James, c'mon back.
  • Who put "disagree" to my post? :D 
    Badly drawn curves (non intentional, that is) are a fact, not something subject to "disagreements" (let alone anonymous ones). LOL
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