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Craft

I just came across this really good piece by Gadi Amit that I found via Steve Juras. Sample quote:

“Beyond macro economics or social politics, the values of craft are the foundation of design excellence. It is not just the ability to make an exquisite object; it’s the deep cultural recognition that craft is form of wisdom–the wisdom of the hand.”

It’s exactly this idea, that I think we may need to revisit in the world of Animation and Motion Graphic Design. I’ve been talking to folks recently about starting a real organization that serves our needs in this industry. Part of what we all seem to want is recognition that our ideas, talent and work are part of a larger tradition. Our advertising and commercial work may be ephemeral, but its immediate needs are part of a larger and longer-lived form of communication. We may be well versed in the latest design software, but it’s not that we just know how to punch the right buttons in the right sequence, it’s that we know why we’re doing it.

This is because we’ve gone through all the motions before. We know how the projects work. Because we build them, custom, from the ground up every time. Depending on how much time and budget we’re given for these jobs we can make every second of these films truly come alive, speaking a language that can be both engaging and informative: giving raw ideas concrete shape.

Why Gadi’s essay speaks to me is that is a simple distillation that not only expertise, but also accumulated knowledge and actual labor go into crafting design. It takes all three to accomplish something worthwhile. Our tools may have flat screens attached that emit only a quiet hum, our work-product may be able to be effortlessly transmitted around the world at the press of a single button, and our hands may not be dirty at the end of the day from grease and sweat, but we’ve still worked.

It’s the work that’s important to me: both in the making and in the thing itself.

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