Virginia Postrel Tells Us Why DIY is A-OK

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Over at Print is one of the most compelling arguments for why designers should chill out about design-dabblers treading on their turf. It’s written by Dynamist Virginia Postrel and touches on “access to tools,” customization vs. craft, and, in one of the most “well, duh” statements, equates designing to the profession of writing, which we most certainly can relate to:

Stories like this upset some designers, who equate specialized formal training with professional status. Periodically, calls arise for licensing or certification to keep out uncredentialed competition. How, if not through professional standards, can ignorant clients be sure of getting “good design”? To a professional writer, of course, these restrictionist dreams sound bizarre. After all, the First Amendment promises that anyone can express him- or herself in writing, yet writers don’t live in fear that people are issuing unlicensed prose. Everyone (at least in theory) learns to read and write in school, which is to the benefit of daily communication, and not the detriment of professional writers. Neither my self-image nor my professional standing is threatened if you write a letter or a memo or a poem celebrating someone’s birthday, or, for that matter, publish an article or create a blog. Literacy doesn’t quench the demand for skillful writing–it enhances it.