Convergence, collaboration and exciting new conversations in an era of dramatic change

We are witnessing a dramatic evolution today involving the convergence of design and technology in the digital publishing era. It’s truly an exciting time. Some observers compare the current phenomenon to the desktop publishing revolution only two decades ago – except that today’s changes are unfolding even faster.

Time was, a graphic communicator or graphic designer would create the piece, toss it to the techie in the next cubicle, and say: “Ok, now go ahead and implement this for me.”

Today, it’s all about collaboration. Whether the job is creating a UI, web pages, content for mobile devices, dashboards… as a designer, you increasingly need to know how to work with the technology person – and vice versa. The process today is collaborative as never before.

As a designer, you don’t need to become a technologist or reinvent yourself overnight. At the same time, be realistic about what you need to accomplish – including the ability to talk with techs and engineers and really understand the concepts of what they are doing today.

We simply need to be ready for the tremendous opportunities in digital publishing.

Not so many years ago, designers were largely relying on maybe 12 or so web-safe fonts. Those same designers – and today’s designers of interfaces for mobile devices linked to the web – now have a vast and stunning array of fonts at their disposal. Our own company, for example, has just entered a major initiative to make 7,000 of our fonts available for web font services.

I often hear questions like these: “Now that I have this cornucopia of type faces available to me, how do I pick the right one for my audience? How do I build a heirarchy using typefaces? Which typefaces mix well together? What kinds of things do I need to be aware of typographically today when creating web pages?”

I don’t have the definitive answer to these questions but I see these new conversations in our field as never before and the answers that arise will certainly generate even more progress.

Conversations. Convergence. Collaboration. A new dimension of change and opportunity in digital publishing is upon us.


ALLAN HALEY is Director of Words & Letters at Monotype Imaging, based in Boston. He will present on Nov. 11, 12 p.m.

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About rgddesignthinkers

The Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario (RGD) is the professional body for graphic designers in Ontario. RGD grants graphic designers who qualify the right to use the designations Registered Graphic Designer and R.G.D., a quality signal of standards of professional practice. RGD has approximately 2800 members. Attracting over 1,000 participants and a full line-up of fascinating speakers, DesignThinkers is Canada’s largest, most important graphic design event. It’s an occasion to listen, learn and interact with peers from across the country.
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