Mirificam Press Interview Series: Jonathan Snook
May 27th, 2009 in Web Design Culture
by: Matthew Griffin
Jonathan Snook is a self-proclaimed "creator of striking designs, impeccable markup and code, and forward-thinking ideas and applications." I'm inclined to agree. Snook is a frequent guest at web design conferences and the author of Snook.ca a top level blog about web design. He has also co-authored two books— Accelerated DOM Scripting with Ajax, APIs, and Libraries, and The Art and Science of CSS—which have met with success and critical acclaim.
Jonathan does feelance work but has also teamed up with a group of developers to form Sidebar Creative which is responsible for the invention of Snitter, My Mile Marker, and Overheard.it. It's a great honor to have him here on Mirificam Press and I thank him for taking the time to answers these questions.
If you could sum up your philosophy of life in just a few sentences, what would you say?
I have no particular philosophy of life. I just live it to enjoy the experiences that happen to me.
Why have you chosen design as your life work?
Design, for me, is solving problems for myself and for others. How I can, with the tools that I've learned to use, create something that wasn't there before and turn it into something useful.
What is the purpose of design?
And that's really the purpose of design, isn't it? To make something useful. Useful can mean anything to anyone and it's such a general term. The purpose of design is to be purposeful. Design is a plan that directs people to do something.
Do you think your philosophy about life informs your understanding of the purpose of design? If so how?
My philosophy on life is an anti-philosophy. It's very laissez-faire. In that sense, it's the opposite of what I try to accomplish with design. Design, for me, is a more active pursuit.
Do you think that design can communicate truth? Is it even important that design communicate truth? What is truth?
What is truth?Truth is everything. It's good, it's bad, it's everything in between. I don't think design can ever communicate everything. Design is selective. It's an attempt to focus the senses. But we're by no means a homogeneous society. People will interpret things differently. As a result, there is no truth but only variations on how we decide to interpret the information in front of us. Successful design does a better job of bringing things into the same focus as that of the designer.
Can design right the wrongs of this world? If so, to what extent?
I don't think design is the end all and be all. There will always be greedy, selfish and vindictive people in this world. Design can inspire people to do good, just as well as it can inspire people to do bad. I don't see that changing any time soon.
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