Scott Carson Interview

Each month we ask a corporate member of the Art Directors Club to share some industry news with the greater ADC community. This month, Noble Desktop had us sit down with Founder, Scott Carson, to talk about the crossovers between design and technology.

Give me a 30-second intro to Noble Desktop

Noble Desktop is a computer graphics training center in Soho. We teach graphic designers, corporations, and career changers how to use Dreamweaver, Flash, InDesign, Photoshop and other graphics programs. Our basic mission: learn cool stuff, do cool stuff, then teach it to others. Aside from our regular classes, we give many free seminars on topics such as “Moving from Print to Web” and “How to Send HTML Email.” We also sell our class workbooks to students and training centers across the world. Our goal is to be known as the place to learn the most useful graphics technology out there. One of our hottest classes right now is Creating eBooks with InDesign.

There’s sometimes a backlash against technology in the industry when creatives fear that computer skills are emphasized at the expense of design ability. What’s your opinion on the role of technology relative to design?

I think great design is an essential prerequisite before worrying about computer skills. But until you are proven, you have to have those computer skills to create the work that will give you the reputation. What seems more important in this highly interactive new world is focus on user experience and interaction design. In order to test interactive designs it is tremendously helpful to have the computer skills to prototype ideas.

What is the advantage a working creative has when they command a wide range of tech skills?

The ability to prototype a design easily. If you can wow them with the actual design and not just describe it, you have a huge edge.

You guys have a great portfolio workshop planned for April 25th – tell me a little about it.

That seminar is called “Get Your %^#@! Portfolio Online! (or make a better one).” We put it together because at last year’s holiday gatherings, I was amazed at how many designers and art directors gave me their business cards without a website address on it. How can *anyone* not have an online portfolio right now? This seminar shows all of the different options for posting a portfolio, from using a portfolio hosting site, to using a content managing system (CMS) such as WordPress, to creating your own site. It’s a great seminar that we have given to other organizations. People come out of it excited to get at least a basic portfolio up within a week–and yes, it is that easy to do.

In your mind, how will desktop publishing evolve in the next five years?

The trend seems to be going more interactive and less print. I see a day very soon, perhaps within two years, where the primary design focus is for the web and digital devices such as iPads and Kindles. The print component will be a secondary consideration. Also the term desktop publishing is not really used anymore. Digital publishing would be more accurate. It’s also becoming more and more complex. Creating web pages was easy when the technology was beginning. Simple HTML tags were all you needed to make a website. These days HTML and CSS are getting so complicated that you need a few courses to get the proper skills. As well, print designers need to design for ePub readers such as the iPad, Kindle, and Nook.

Noble does corporate on-site training sessions – what are you usually brought in to teach? Any success stories?

Our biggest corporate training course was converting companies from Quark to InDesign. We have hundreds of success stories, but perhaps the best is when we trained Penthouse Magazine. We taught them the conversion and their next issue came out perfect. We also have clients such as Wiley and Time, Inc. that use us on a regular basis to keep their entire staffs up to date on current graphics technology.

Why should old school designers consider going digital?

First of all because work will become more scarce as time goes on without it… but second, because it’s fun as heck!

Is there anything else exciting coming up for you this year?

We’re working on our next class in creating eMagazines using the as-yet-unreleased Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. The technology is fantastic and we can’t wait to teach it!