Bonky WP automatic upgrade was a blessing in disguise :P

Redesigning this blog has been long overdue… Like ONE or TWO years overdue. I just haven’t got the time to sit down and make something just for me—yep, work has been taking a huge chunk of my time. Most of the time, work stresses me out so much that I don’t want to do anything during the weekends but to sleep. My husband and I are still in the process of expanding our business, and that being said, you really end up valuing every little free time you have left.

Frankly, I was never too happy with the previous design I made for this blog. And being a web designer by profession, writing on a poorly-designed blog gives me an iffy feeling. I’m not making excuses for my lack of updates—this is still mainly due to my lack of free time—but my unease with my previous creation had also something to do with it.

But thanks to my haste to upgrade my WordPress installation, I am now forced to create a new design for this blog. I totally forgot to backup my files and the database before clicking on that ever-convenient “Automatic upgrade” button. My upgrade went bonkers, and for some reason my custom theme just disappeared. Poof! No more.

I don’t want to hassle my host in getting a backup, so I’m just creating a new theme for this one. Do watch out for it (let’s just hope I find the time to work on this during the week!).

Can design be learned?

I’ve been seeing this discussion all over the internet—designers’ forums, mailing lists, blogs, articles, and what-have-you’s. I think it’s about time I give my own opinion about it. Besides, this blog’s been stagnant for months—it’s about time I write something on it.

A lot of people say design is art per se, but I beg to differ. Design, by definition,

…refers to the process of originating and developing a plan for a new object (machine, building, product, etc.).

Design, by itself, doesn’t necessarily have to have aesthetic value or emotional effect. So, per se, it’s not art. But for some reason that the design becomes beautiful (has perceived quality other than the purpose it serves), it can be considered an art. In my opinion, design can be art, but it doesn’t always follow that design is always art.

Getting that point clear brings me back to the question: can design be learned? Yes. Anybody can learn how to develop a plan for a certain object—he doesn’t need to be born with an artistic talent.

Let’s take a closer-to-home example: web design. After all, I am a web designer. Hehe.

You need to design a web site in order to post your thoughts. You can easily just install WordPress then put in something like Scott’s default Sandbox theme, no skins. You have a navigation bar, an area for posts, and a title with a tagline on top. No frills, just that. It does exactly as it was supposed to be—as it was designed. But would you call that art already? I think not.

But then, you start creating your own graphics and making your own CSS structure. You get more creative, and start using graphics as a way to convey your thoughts. You make your website look as if it’s conveying your very thoughts and emotions. When you’re sad, it’s gloomy. When you’re ecstatic, it’s sunny. That’s when it becomes an art: you go beyond the purpose and add quality to the work through creativity.

Can anybody make an “artistic” design? No. I really don’t think so. Sorry if this sounds condescending, but really, there are people who can’t make a design into a work of art. Although I don’t think it’s necessarily bad.

As my mom said, not everyone is born with the talent for the arts, but those without it is blessed with other talents that the artists aren’t good at. That is so true. I’m lucky to be born in an artistic family (both my parents are artists, so is my sister), but I can’t do calculus or any of those numeric things without bleeding my brains out. I can whip up artsy designs in less than a day, but I can never say the same for math 😛

If your web site design is important to you, which it should be since a good web designer can make a site that, through your web page design, can encourage return visitors, then learning web site design or hiring a good firm to do it for you is a worthwhile investment.

Creative distractions

I’ve been so distracted lately. It’s obvious, isn’t it? I haven’t been updating this blog for quite a while now.

Aside from work and this secret “project” I’m working on for this blog (promise, it’s coming soon!), site rippers have been getting on my nerves lately. The first one is still under “negotiations” between our company‘s Marketing Director and the person’s PR guy, so I still can’t blog about it… YET. The second one is actually just a nuisance I can’t seem to be rid of, and I’ve pretty much vented out about it on my personal blog. With so many things going on in my mind right now, even my fiance, Marc, is beginning to wonder how in the world I’m still able to design for work.

Well, blame it on this startup business my sister, Marc and I are working on. Filipino Artisans is primarily focused on providing novelty invitations and souvenirs with a native Filipino touch (we make use of native materials). It’s still not my full-time job (web design will always be my first love), but working on invitation orders is a great creative fix. Staying too long in front of the computer is not only bad for your eyes and ass (it’s literally a PAIN in the ass… UGHH. Bad pun), but it can also be a source of a creative block. Doing arts and crafts every once in a while helps the creative juices to flow… Specially when you most need it.

I’ve been getting some emails asking me how I manage to keep on designing (thank you for those, by the way… They’re very comforting after a week of dealing with damn rippers)… Well, there’s your answer 🙂 My secret: arts and crafts (and no, it isn’t always about sex :D)