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News media are not the only ones getting it wrong. Professional associations get it wrong every day, and commemorate their wrongness with an annual festival. Each year, advertising and design magazines and professional organizations hold contests for ??new media design?? judged by the winners of last year??s competitions. That they call it ??new media design?? tells them nothing and you and me everything.
Although there are exceptions, for the most part the creators of winning entries see the web as a vehicle for advertising and marketing campaigns in which the user passively experiences Flash and video content. For the active user, there is gaming but what you and I think of as active web use is limited to clicking a ??Digg this page?? button.
The winning sites look fabulous as screen shots in glossy design annuals. When the winners become judges, they reward work like their own. Thus sites that behave like TV and look good between covers continue to be created, and a generation of clients and art directors thinks that stuff is the cream of web design.
People who are smart about print can be less bright about the web. Their critical faculties, honed to perfection during the Kerning Wars, smash to bits against the barricades of our profession.
The less sophisticated lament on our behalf that we are stuck with ugly fonts. They wonder aloud how we can enjoy working in a medium that offers us less than absolute control over every atom of the visual experience. What they are secretly asking is whether or not we are real designers. (They suspect that we are not.) But these are the juniors, the design students and future critics. Their opinions are chiefly of interest to their professors, and one prays they have good ones.
More sophisticated critics understand that the web is not print and that limitations are part of every custom web design discipline. Yet even these eggheads will sometimes succumb to fallacious comparatives. Although long ago and strictly for giggles.) Where the masterpieces of web are design, these critics cry. That Goggle Maps might be as representative of our age as the Mona Lisa was of Leonardo??s??and as brilliant, in its way??satisfies many of us as an answer, but might not satisfy the design critic in search of a direct parallel to, oh, I don??t know, let??s say Milton Glaser??s iconic Bob Dylan poster.
I found your post to be a bit esoteric, but certainly an interesting way to slide in a bit of shameless self promotion 🙂