They say that you don’t really know someone until you walk a mile in their shoes. Part of my core philosophy in life is that I strive to always consider things with an objective and unbiased opinion. I do not enjoy mixing facts with rumors, and make great effort to not speculate about anything. I also believe that everything should be questioned, however firm our belief in a subject. Faith works so much better when you have knowledge to back it up.
This means that to properly critique an idea, or cross-compare it to something that’s already intimately familiar, I need to live in that idea long enough to know how right (or wrong) I might be with my opinions regarding that idea. The comment thread on Digital-Web (from the Fireworks vs Photoshop article), as mature and professional as it was, left me wondering “how well do I really know the differences between Photoshop and Fireworks?”. The day I stop questioning how I work is the day I begin to stagnate in my technique, and having a system that works well, doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for a little evolution.
Living with the Enemy
I’m going to use Fireworks for one Month (all of August) in leu of Photoshop, and find out on my own if my opinion, workflow, or style change in any way.
Exactly one year ago today (what an odd coincidence), Andy Rutledge wrote a critique on one of my own entries. When I read his article, I was livid. I couldn’t see past my own ego and thought that I was being called out as an amateur. I’ve been in the industry a very long time, so it really stung to hear such harsh words. I thought it was ridiculous. However, those harsh words had a slight echo of truth to them: It wasn’t that I personally have ever been amateur, but that it was only my way of thinking that was amateur. All the difference in the world, and only wish I could’ve seen it that clearly a year ago.
In my article, I was asking the wrong questions to my audience without actually doing any of the work or research myself. Instead of going back and revisit the central topic of that conversation though, I’d like to apply what I’ve learned since then to a new scenario: I know how I work when it comes to visual design, but my awareness of alternate techniques and toolsets have me wanting to try a scientific experiment. I’m going to use Fireworks for one Month (all of August) in leu of Photoshop, and find out on my own if my opinion, workflow, or style change in any way.
To properly document this test, I plan on writing up a log of my impressions each time I run Fireworks. I’ll be following what I hope to achieve in the program, how well I got there, the level of difficultly in finding out how to achieve a particular task, and my overall feelings for that day. These logs will be posted several times a week, and I’ll be happy to share them here in my journal for anyone who wants to follow along (or even mock me, if you like).
I’m confident that my abilities as a designer will supersede the tools I choose to use.
Am I up to the challenge? We’ll see. In any event, I expect the following Month to be certainly an entertaining and (hopefully) educational experience. Since I’m sharing this with you, I welcome anyone who would like to join me. Discussions, tips, ideas, opinions, random information, and even critiques are all welcome to make this little experiment as interesting as possible. In the end, I’m confident that my abilities as a designer will supersede the tools I choose to use. Once I learn the nuances of Fireworks it will (at the very least) give me more knowledge about my own process than I already have. This should be interesting, don’t you think?