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Reason 8: Creative work only looks easy Design, art direction, illustration, copywriting – any creative act, really – can be described as follows: Take a complex idea, and use social, pop-cultural, intellectual, comical references and insights and create a simple statement, graphic, headline, whatever, that delivers the idea in a way that does not appear

When you’re aligning elements on your page, there are two ways to align them: mathematically, or optically. The difference is small, but it can really make a difference in your overall design. It’s not specifically “better” to use optical alignment, but judge the effect for yourself. Here’s an example of a mathematical alignment of elements.

Reason 7: The butterfly effect. There isn’t one answer to any layout. There’s no such thing as the right or wrong way to do something. There’s the simple truth that if what you are trying to communicate is there, on the page (virtual or literal), you succeeded. Here’s another dose of reality: The worst creative

Reason 6: There are very few rights and wrongs. You’re allowed the occasional “phone in”. There are peaks and valleys in every portfolio. If you looked at 100 portfolios of designers and art directors, you’d see a broad spectrum of different skill-levels, styles and experience. However, in almost all those 100 books, you’re only seeing

Reason 5: How do YOU know it sucks? My tabla teacher said something to me once that I’ve never forgotten. He’s said several things I’ve never forgotten, in point of fact. This is just the one that fits now. My teacher’s teacher is a world-famous tabla player. I mentioned to my teacher that I loved

Reason 4: Your work is being forged in the furnace of experience. The last thing anyone wants to hear is how many years they’re going to have to work at something to get good. They want that tempting “all-in-one” answer that will teleport them to success. Well, both notions are wrong, actually. You can get

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