One of the major problems caused by technological advances in the
design industry is the difficulty in finding staff with the versatility
to combine technical ability and mindset to use computers in the design
process, with the creative skills associated with the traditional
Human nature seems to dictate that the technical thinker and the
creative thinker are worlds apart and are seldom found in the same
individual as their minds work on two different planes.
Technically minded people have entered the design industry on the fast
track because of their mental capacity to learn new software packages
and keep abreast of the advances in computer-aided design. However, it
is these people who, crucially, often struggle with the creative thought
The current dilemma is that we are working in a design industry
frighteningly bereft of truly creative staff, which has an abundance of
average Mac operators purporting to be creatives.
As an example of this conundrum, how many of your design staff can
How many have the ability to think beyond the parameters of the software
packages that they work within? Is it possible that this is the reason
for much of the lacklustre design solutions currently seen in the
With the advent of digital media solutions, design for web sites and
interactive CD-Roms, are young creatives entering our industry going to
feel insecure about being able to find employment?
We need to seek out talent, nurture it and preserve it. Imagination is a
critical requirement when pitching for a new account and isn’t it our
creative interpretation of a client’s brief that differentiates us as
If more so-called ’creative heads’ saw imagination as a key ingredient
to their role and sought to acknowledge this at all levels within their
own organisations, perhaps we would see an end to agencies advertising
for ’Mac operators’ instead of ’designers with Mac experience’ - and a
cultural evolution in terms of attitude to creative skill to combat the
From my personal perspective as a designer, I feel duty bound to stay
true to the core values of design.
It is Freestone’s policy to proactively provide opportunities for
talented, creative people and encourage them to understand the value of
their imagination in the commercial world.
We have a training programme in place that ensures that all staff are
exposed to the latest market trends and developments, but I do believe
that it is a combination of these initiatives that has contributed to
Stuart Freestone is a senior partner at Freestone Design Consultants.