“Now You See It and Other Essays on Design” by Michael Bierut

Book Notes

Whatever color you want #

From “Now You See It”:

From my earliest days as a designer I loved black and white. Such authority, such decisiveness. To this day, any collection of my favorite personal projects — posters, book covers, packaging — marks me as a follower of Henry Ford, another enthusiast for wheels who famously told buyers of his Model T that they could have whatever color they wanted as long as it was black. Every now and then, I dip my toe in the vast rainbow-hued sea. It usually comes up with no more than a little bit of red and an even littler bit of yellow. I admire people who can use color with authority. To me, they seem to be able to swim like fishes.

This isn’t quite a misery loves company thing, but just that it’s good to know that you can become one of the most successful graphic designers ever without having complete mastery over an important element of graphic design.

(I also assume he probably is at some junior mastery level with color but it’s enough for him to know what grandmasters can do. Or something.)

A few other examples of this

  • Team sports has this: basketball players who can hit 3s and defend but can’t create off the ball, freak athlete defensive backs with bad hands, designated hitters…
  • Individual sports as well: excel enough in stand up and you’ll never have to fight on the ground

On the other hand, creators who want to live off their art must learn a bunch of non-art skills: marketing, sales, copywriting, networking.

But mastery isn’t required.