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The Best Reasons to Revisit Analog Design

by Shane Mehling
art & design, craft & maker, featured

We know that most design houses in world that are looking to hire talent with a knack for Photoshop, Illustrator and/or InDesign. These are obviously some very crucial tools for both designers — who would feel a little lost if they were taken away — and companies who are looking for designers who can get their work done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

But sometimes you spend so much time staring at the screen that you forget how powerful, satisfying and refreshing design can be when you shut the laptop and work on something with your own two hands. We’re not saying this means you have to convince your bosses to toss out their computers and start doing everything with protractors, though a little bit of that may have big effects (and here is one way to get started if you’re rusty).

Check out these reasons to go revisit analog:

A Different Perspective

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When you are staring at a blank screen for the hundredth (or thousandth) time then you may feel stuck in rut where you go through the same set of motions every time. You try a few of the same plug-ins to shake things up or find your mouse going back to the same spots to flip through colors or fonts. It’s that kind of repetition that ends up draining you to the point where your mind feels like it can never generate another worthwhile thought. But if you are not only focused on a different kind of project, but are using different tools, this can set you on a completely different path.

Skip the Trends

Anyone doing design work is worried that what they’re doing is caught up with what is trendy right now. And while there are niche designers who focus on analog, for the most part you can feel that what you’re doing is going to be something a little more personal and not in sync with everything else that’s coming out this year. Just based on the fact that you’re not using the same approach as so many designers will help you avoid some of their pitfalls.

The Benefits of Limitations

When you don’t have a way to undo something, when you can’t cleanly crop something, when the layers you’re working with have to literally be layers of material, then a lot can happen — you may get more creative, you may plan better, you might possibly troubleshoot to get around a problem you didn’t see coming. In other words, analog design could start lighting up parts of your brain that you haven’t been using too much recently.

It’s Tangible

Working all day on a digital project can be incredibly rewarding, but there is nothing quite like getting to hold a creation in your hands. Whether you keep it or give it to someone else, a physical object does give you that extra little boost of pride. And if you end up transferring the idea to the digital realm, you always have that cool keepsake that didn’t need to be printed out.

It’ll Make You Feel Like a Kid Again

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Even though some people act like this is the way it’s always been, designers weren’t working with vectors when they were in kindergarten. Instead it was paper, glue, crayons and safety scissors. It is where most designers realized that not only were they good at something, but they actually could imagine themselves doing this for the rest of their lives. Working all day to get design work done can be a tiring, and sometimes quite demoralizing, task, but going back to where it all started may remind you that this is really where you want to be.

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Shane Mehling

Shane Mehling is a freelance writer and editor who plays in noiserock bands.