I'm trying to learn about graphic design so I'm reading stuff like this:

So much capital-G "Graphic Design" stuff really rubs me the wrong way, and I finally figured out how to articulate why:

Capital-G "Graphic Design" is ALWAYS trying to "look expensive" first and foremost. Communicating whatever the design is supposedly intended to communicate is always subservient to signaling "spent a lot of money on graphic design". And nobody's allowed to admit it!

@nindokag Not sure I agree. It may not be "expensive" as much as "touched by a 'designer'". I think GD is like many pursuits where you just have to make make make (and look at other stuff) and eventually you can be good at it.

@nindokag There's graphic design, and there's corporate graphic design. Learn the principles, don't apply them to the interests of big corporations, and you can get pretty nice slide decks and party posters.

@kureshii @allison I want to believe that there is such a thing as universal principles of how to make something clear, legible, and visually appealing.

Principles that are not entangled with elitist class-signaling games.

And I would really love any recommendations you may have for how to learn that stuff, where to look for resources, etc.

Because so far, every guide I've found has had this unbearable attitude of "we all know Comic Sans is bad because commoners use it"

You know what i mean?

@nindokag @kureshii I do. I completed a post-baccalaureate program in GD at Mpls College of Art & Design in 2016.

Sometimes I think, uh, what did I learn/I don't feel like I know anything. But in fact I'm sure I did but it was in a far less methodical way than when I learned things like math or science! post 1 of 2

@nindokag @kureshii post 2 of 2
I could feel it sinking in when I listened to lecture from a prof who really knew his/her stuff. Also after viewing good design and learning about it, then making my own with those concepts in mind.

And making more and more.

Like many things, if you keep basic stuff in mind it can go a long way. Then just keep making. Some things I feel like always help me are considering lots of white space and experimenting with scale (try it REALLY BIG or small). etc.

@nindokag @allison I didn't get any formal GD education other than a module in university. If you want to avoid most of that unbearable attitude, turn to the books that were written before Comic Sans was invented 😉

The only generic design principles I learnt were those of Gestalt design. Everything else was just trying things out and seeing what worked.

@nindokag @allison I started trying it out with fansubs (yes really), making some short PDFs without relying too much on LaTeX's automatic features, pushing the boundaries of what MSWord can do, consulting for a Kickstarter project that needed typesetting advice for their light novel, and finally ... making student handouts.

Most of the same practices/awarenesses apply across multiple disciplines.

@nindokag @allison As for recs, most of my reading was for typography (because fansubs), so I don't have much for GD in general. I started with The Elements of Typographic Style (which was a lot less presumptuous than The Elements of Style, S&W). If you can find/borrow some really good books for typography, you can pick up some of the principles through those too.

@nindokag just design bit or also the ux? My entire career (ui/ux development) basically revolves around:


I think UI/UX is very valuable and important. It was my previous career, in fact.

I also have huge respect for Bret Victor. I had the pleasure to meet him a couple of times (my company tried and failed to hire him) and was really impressed with how humble and thoughtful he is, and his talent for seeing what's right in front of our noses that nobody else can see.

No, what i'm criticizing is purely visual design and specifically the need to signal upper-class trend-compliance

@nindokag that’s very cool! Yeah, I feel like design that helps vs design that is just signaling is something that he really gets.

@nindokag There-s a lot of signaling options beyond "look expensive", like "old-money", "intellectual as fuck", "young, exciting, totally not a mid-life crisis thing", "so green I cum pandas", etc.

But it does mostly boil down to different flavors of elite or exclusive.

@nindokag Jokes aside, some level of design effort does signal commitment. It tells people they're looking at something more than a hobby that may be dropped without any warning, and it's safe for them to get invested on whatever you're doing.

@machado @nindokag Reminds me of

A lot of the effort of design helps to present a consistent look and feel that makes a business or product *seem* “real” and not vaporware or verbiage.

@nindokag In a very real sense graphic design is just a continuation of a practice going back thousands of years.

The proportions, rhythm, and massing in some Mosques (not all) are as close to universal principles as you will find and they are of course still relevant today.


see also: religious manuscripts

@nindokag And I think the examples in the link you posted are really not bad examples to learn from. They are class signaling and gaudy because of the content and ornamentation, but not necessarily in structure

@nindokag this effect on websites/apps/etc also includes signaling that it "spends lots of computational resources"

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