Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Since social trends are visual, a crash course on how to see [video]

You're busy shooting and sharing online video and Instagram photos, sharing shots on Pinterest and Flickr, posting a Vine here and an infographic or type treatment for a quotation there. There's no denying that the visual is the strongest of social media's enduring trends, with YouTube now up to a billion views per month and Pinterest poised right behind Twitter and Facebook, both of which keep expanding their visual options.

But you may not have a formal visual orientation to your very visual social media work. And you very likely haven't learned how to see as an artist or designer does. Time to correct that. If you're standing around criticizing someone's use of Comic Sans, but don't realize that letters are an expression of motion and how that works in design, there's some work to do. Even if you never design something directly, learning to see will help you better communicate what you want to design professionals.

I'm fortunate to have pursued art as a hobby and as a professional, learning design principles in a classroom and practicing them over and over, offline--and eventually selling the results. But the truth is that many communicators armed with today's visual tools have no background in seeing and design. Inge Druckrey: Teaching to See, a film about a design teacher with 40 years of helping students learn to see, gives you an easy and compelling way to dip your toe in the water. Fast Company shares this thoughtful look at the video and its teachings, and why they are useful widely, noting "If you do one thing today, watch this 40-minute crash course in Design Thinking." I agree. You'll hear testimonials from Druckrey's students and even Steve Jobs in citing the importance of learning to see.

Here's the video. What else have you used to expand your visual thinking to help yourself in social media communications? And if you're already a visual artist, check out my post on social media for the visual artist: 11 ways to promote your work.

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