Sep 25, 2012

The team of ask me a little while ago to do a guest post on my blog. I love their subject! So a little while later, we've got a really nice article for you to read here ...

Training: The Key to Success in the Design World?

Which is the true source of success in the design world: training or talent? While the subject isn’t completely black and white, many are in support of the ‘training’ side of the debate. Looking at the experiences of successful designers, we can see that the real driver of success is a passion for design that inspires an artist to learn how to thrive in the field.

When I talked to Denise Fort, webmaster and artist behind Fort Illustrations, about the topic of this guest post, she cited the drive to immerse oneself in design as the main factor in improving one’s own design work. Denise said, “People with a given passion for design will get naturally better than others because they love to deal with design.” In a whitepaper recently published by, a site that matches students with online colleges, designers Kirsten Jahn Richardson and Jim Casa both agreed, noting that “…an insatiable passion and an eye for design are the most important traits a designer can possess.”

Another great point that Denise brings to the discussion is that “design has a lot of logic and given rules which can be learned.” Famed designers Paul Rand, known for his creation of high profile company logos, Milton Glaser, creator of the famed “I Schwarzes Herz (Karten) NY” design, and Saul Bass, designer of many popular logos and film posters, all studied design before making a name for themselves. They are among a vast majority of successful designers who first objectively study design and the works of others so that they could add their own spin to the field. In the words of the 14th Dalai Lama, “Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”

According to the aforementioned Milton Glaser, the marriage of training and passion are responsible for the nourishment and growth of talent. This quote from Glaser sums up the debate: “The real issue is not talent as an independent element, but talent in relationship to will, desire, and persistence. Talent without these things vanishes and even modest talent with those characteristics grows.” 

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