731 N 35th St
Seattle, Washington 98103

The technical and functional divide between graphic designers and web developers is widening every year, where graphic designers in school or self-taught are encouraged to use tools such as Fireworks and Photoshop so they can build websites using tools that are "familiar to them" as opposed to learning actual web design technical skills, then hand over the hacked up, sliced & diced pieces to developers who are then required to carefully weave the pieces back together and make it work, removing accountability from designers, who should be learning how to truly design for the web, by taking the time to learn the fundamental coding languages HTML and CSS.

With the introduction of Typekit and other font replacement and licensing applications, the barriers to entry for web design are again lowered, and solid design fundamentals are de-emphasized in favor of making interactive experiences more easily produced. I see the value in these new tools, but I also see trouble in the long term, as the traditional design community embraces the new tools and push head-first into production but still do not have a proper understanding of the fundamentals so that web development is again takes a backseat even further to the whims of the designer, and so the divide is deepened.

In the right hands, these tools may provide unprecedented aesthetic options, so I'm certainly not here to discount Typekit itself, only to subvert the blind faith that this tool (or something like it) truly has the power to change web design forever. I see it as a way to further de-emphasize good design by technical standards, and another way for us to remove accountability for a generation of designers spoiled with software shortcuts and trigger-happy slice & dice Photoshop cowboys, forgiving them for not knowing the fundamentals of web design and how to build sites properly. My fear is that without proper application and behavioral teaching differences, the divide between designers and developers will widen further.

Maybe this is just a warning, maybe a manifesto, but I believe the behavior somehow needs to change. Before we introduce more variables to the art and technology of web design, we need to alter our curriculum and rethink how we as a community focus and emphasize style and code to design as opposed to pure software to design. The type divide will complicate the process and muddy the waters for designers and developers to produce effective, functional and aesthetically sensible web sites. This is our problem, and we need to address it as a community.

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About the Speaker

BYRON A. GRONSETH is a self-taught professional graphic designer, artist & illustrator who drinks way too much coffee and strives to emphasize the importance of typography in brand, identity, print and web design, specializing in adding a hand-made touch to every project he accepts. He infuses enthusiastic creative energy into everything in his life and frequently talks with his hands. Professionally, Byron commands a variety of freelance print and web design projects, custom illustration and hand-lettering as well as specialty packaging and mini-campaigns for personal events. He has roughly 5 years of professional design experience and over 20 years of creative, art and drawing experience. In addition to a steady freelance racket, Byron has worked with global and national brands in San Antonio over the years and is currently the Senior Designer for Black Hat Security Conferences based in Seattle, WA.

Byron engages young designers and encourages them to build strong foundations and add value to the design community whenever possible. He is interested in using his experience and network to build strong relationships between academic and professional communities to engage young creative individuals and better prepare students for careers in the professional world.

About Refresh Seattle

Refresh Seattle is a community of designers and developers working to refresh the creative, technical, and professional culture of New Media endeavors in the Seattle/Puget Sound area. Promoting design, technology, usability, and standards, Refresh Seattle is a part of Refresh and the associated Refreshing Cities.

After Party!

After this event, we will all head to the Red Door for drinks and food!

Official Website: http://www.refreshseattle.org