Mirificam Press Interview: Nate Ernst
July 15th, 2009 in Web Design Culture
by: Matthew Griffin
If you could sum up your philosophy of life in just a few sentences, what would you say?
My philosophy of life is shaped by Christian theology and doctrine. Through my own experiences so far, I've found that I have absolutely no reason to live or function outside of the grace of God, so my philosophy is not very important because I just want it to line up with God's.
Why have you chosen design as your life work?
This might not be the answer you're looking for, but design is not my life work. I have actually chosen to go back school for a major in English with a minor in Technical/Professional Writing. I think the combination of the two (design and tech writing) could great for teaching overseas and/or helping non-profits create a professional and effective presentation both visually and through their use of language, not to mention the fact that I can support my family, the main function of any work.
What is the purpose of design?
I like to think of design as a language, the same as written words or music or sign language. Design must communicate, what and how it communicates is different for every project/client, but the function is still communication.
Do you think your philosophy about life informs your understanding of the purpose of design? If so how?
Being creative is one of the ways in which we imitate God, so I love doing anything creative. Creative does not just mean "outside the box," it is literally just creating. I also love writing songs, and short stories. The ability to create anything is a huge grace that God has given us (I think Satan is cursed in only having the power of distortion and destruction, not creation) and I want to take advantage of it any way I can.
Do you think that design can communicate truth? Is it even important that design communicate truth?
It can communicate truth, certainly, but I would rather think of it in terms of using the creative capacity that God has given us, and sometimes projects just need to pay the bills. Usually I do not think of design in terms of communicating truth. I do not want to let myself off the hook so easily and avoid opportunities to share truth in other ways because I've deluded myself into thinking that my vocation is so virtuous and my ability so superior that I no longer have other responsibilities in feeding the poor, caring for orphans, and the other things God has called us to.
What is truth?
Wow. Well I'm glad we can finally end this eternal question with my insight. I'm joking, but I think this is best summarized with Jesus saying "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."
Can design right the wrongs of this world? If so, to what extent?
No. Maybe I'm offending designers all over by suggesting this, but ultimately, God rights the wrongs of this world. He uses us, but I don't know that it is through design any more than it is through a heating/air conditioning service or an insurance service. These are the things that make up our economy and certainly have some capacity to do good, but the world only really changes by hearing the gospel and being cared for by Christians.
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