I know that there are Web designers among my readers, so I put this question to you and those who know designers. How many Web designers have a background that includes fine arts? When I say fine arts, I mean art history, visual art, art theory, etc.
I ask because I’m currently working with a designer on a new site. As source material, I sent her a bunch of images (album covers, actually, from a certain period) which I thought conveyed the style I was looking for. I pointed out specific elements–typographical and graphic–as well as more abstract aspects such as the mood the images provoked.
I reasoned that Web designers are visual artists, and that this approach would be a kind of shorthand to get us on the same page. When I’ve worked in the theatre, costume, scenic and lighting designers often bring images to early design meetings to provide a context for their vision of a production.
I’ve assumed (I know, ‘ass out of you and me’, blah, blah) that a visual artist would respond well to my submitted images, because she’s accustomed to working in the medium. I assumed that it’d be relatively easy for her to extrapolate from the source imagery to the site mockups. However, my approach isn’t really working. I’m not seeing much of my suggestions in the mockups, and I wonder if mine is an uncommon (and therefore wrong) approach to Web design?
I’m asking about a fine arts education because, in my experience, this is exactly where one comes in handy. It provides you with the language to discuss visual art and design, and enables you to synthesize and assimilate disparate artistic elements to create new work. Being a hack Web designer myself, and not having ever taken a Web design program, I don’t know how much fine arts education is involved.