February 15, 2010 Off

Tutorials vs. Teachers

By in Design, Web Design

Once upon a time, I was a student attending school for copywriting. I was excited about entering the world of advertising. I was full of inspiration and hope, itching to unleash my creative ideas and witty words onto the world. Unfortunately, there was this one pesky little thing that seemed to be getting in the way. It stopped my creative juices dead in their tracks, and transformed my witty thoughts into thoughts of confusion, frustration and acute anger. This pesky thing was Mac Apps class. At the time I was unsure of why a clever copywriter like me would ever have to deal with something as mundane as logo placement or the right typeface. I was even more unsure of what the hell I was doing. Luckily, there was a nifty thing that greatly helped out with the pesky thing. It was the tutorial.

So I wasn’t the best at design. Or doing anything on computers really. I had a teacher who was not so much a teacher as a talented designer talking at us. I had kind friends sitting next to me who helped me out when I was lost. But you can only expect so much patience from people. This is where the tutorials come in. Pretty much everything that takes any skill to operate has tutorials. PhotoShop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, you name it. Even Windows programs that seem basic to most people like the Office suite or Excel have tutorials.

For those of us who feel uncomfortable being asked to “rasterize” something and have no clue what a vector is, there are tutorials. Tutorials are a hands-on way of teaching that allows you to see what you are doing, step by step. It cuts through all the confusing program talk, the vague abstract words that float around in your overworked mind and just shows you how it is done. Instead of talking to you about a tool, it shows you the tool and how it is used. In my opinion, it is a far more practical way of teaching. It even shows you multiple ways of achieving the same result. So if you don’t like one route you can take another, and end up at the same destination.

To me, these tutorials are kind of like those fun experiments in middle school that made your textbook knowledge come to life. In science class, learning that soap was an emulsifier was probably both irrelevant and boring. But when you got to mix oil and water and then add soap, you could actually SEE what an emulsifier does. Knowledge becomes understanding.

But these tutorials aren’t just for clueless beginners. They’re for every single person that uses a program to some capacity. Programs like PhotoShop and Dreamweaver are constantly evolving, and catching up with the tutorials are important. Experienced designers need to keep up with these changes to keep learning (and to stay ahead of the competition). That’s the great things about tutorials. Unlike all your human teachers, tutorials won’t judge you or lose their patience. Whether you’re a dense beginner or a veteran designer, tutorials will hold your hand till the very end.

About: Ian:
Hi, I'm Ian T. I'm a York grad and a copywriter for Eden Advertising. I'm the master of procrastinating. I like to use parentheses (sometimes). I love the LCBO because wine makes me happy. I don't blog, I capture moments in time.

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