As CEO of YFactor, Anya takes a multi-faceted role providing guidance, inspiration and direction to her dedicated employees. Her education comprises an honours graduate degree from OCAD University in Corporate Communications and a post-graduate diploma from Sheridan College in Computer Graphics.
What is the biggest challenge the industry currently faces?
Our industry has undergone massive changes in the past 20 years and it’s not yet stabilizing. Instead, the rate of change is increasing. The biggest challenge for design professionals is to recognize the changes and understand how they impact our work and our business. When trying to understand – or predict – industry trends, we need to look backward, and use historical data to try to anticipate the forward trajectory.
In the not-too-distant past, typography was a true art that required careful setting by professional typographers. Today it’s perfectly acceptable for anyone to simply type into a keyboard and whatever comes out is fine. It’s unusual for ligatures to be used, rarely is type kerned or carefully adjusted. The profession of typographer no longer exists. Similarly, in the past, carefully-written letters, grammatically correct to the last detail, were a critical part of day-to-day communications. Today we have shifted to quick emails, short-form text messaging and plenty of abbreviations. Grammar, including accurate spelling, has become inconsequential in most day-to-day communications.
It’s interesting to observe the willingness of mainstream society to accept purely functional typography and purely functional communications in which neither aesthetics nor accuracy is deemed to have value. I’m not judging these trends as either good or bad; as designers we simply need to be cognizant of the changes in society, particularly as they impact communications, so we can adjust, advise and position our work and our businesses accordingly.
What does the future look like for the design industry?
If the quality of typography and the spelling of words are no longer important in today's world, what value will be placed on the work of designers in the future? Will function override aesthetics in all communications? Will designers still be needed or will our profession be erased in the same way as that of the professional typographer? Such a dramatic change won't happen overnight, but the value of design is already shifting. This shift not only impacts our ability to make a living as designers, but also the joy we take in our craft and the number of opportunities we have to create solutions that are functional and beautiful.
I believe that designers can continue to provide true value by taking the time to understand clients' businesses and goals. Perhaps what we consider to be “design” will be different in the future, but I predict that the methodology and the services designers provide will remain valuable.
What are your 'words to live by' when it comes to executing a successful creative project?
The difference between a good designer and a great designer is the quality of thought.
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