“The computer is such a powerful instrument that it defines, after a while, what is possible for you. And what is possible is within the computer’s capacity. And while it seems at the beginning like this incredibly gifted and talented service it actually has a very limited intelligence. The brain is so much vaster than the computer, but, the computer is very insistent about what it’s good at. And before you know it it’s like being with somebody who has bad habits — you sort of fall into the bad habits and it begins to dominate the way you think about what is possible.”
— Milton Glaser

Milton Glaser, to inform and to delightImage by casyc.

Quoted from a thought-provoking interview with Milton Glaser.

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October 3, 2013


Milton really talks the truth. According to the definition, even a “calculator” is a computer but with a small and specific need. Man’s needs have grown, and so has a computer’s capacity to overcome the same. We’ve all seen so many amendments, upgrades in this world, it’s simply never ending. In my college annual work I had proposed that one day technology will arrive when computers are integrated with humans. The generation is changing, take the example of “Google Glass.”

Kalpesh Panchal

I for one do agree with Milton about the computer not doing as much good as many people think it does when it comes to designing. I instantly felt a different connection when I took the time to illustrate with pencil and paper. Also experimenting with hand lettering has helped me appreciate my sketchbook even more.

Thankfully I learned early on that sketching was an important part of the design process. I still sketch out ideas most of the time before heading to the computer to implement my concept. Milton Glaser is a great designer, and I think he is right on about computers.

Beautiful! The computer is a great TOOL but it’s really easy to forget that. I’m making an effort to use my hands more and I’m finding that they are so rusty I’m basically starting over from scratch.

So much truth to this but couldn’t you say it about any instrument you pick up to try and convey an idea? My camera certainly limits the amount of thought and detail in a scene I capture. We simply live in a life of restricted conveyance of ideas no matter how we try.
Am I too far off here?

I have to read Milton Glaser quotes about 5 times before I start understanding what he’s saying! He makes a great point about the tricky nuance of computers sneakily limiting your creativity instead of enhancing. Personally, I have made it a rule that I will open Illustrator only after a design is fully fleshed out on paper. This simple rule has caused my creative productivity to sky-rocket!

Thanks for sharing David!

A quote which holds a lot of truth. Computers have really sped up the production of our work, especially with web development, but they can easily become the highway to the wrong idea if no thought is applied before using one.

TM, I think there’ll always be some restriction, whether that’s our ability to put an idea into words or to note it on paper. For me, it’s a case of finding my path of least restriction — generally pen and paper. The good part is that when an idea’s in front of me, rather than in my head, it can be easier to adapt in ways I mightn’t have otherwise.

Thanks for commenting, folks.

I agree. When you turn away from the computer and deal with the project on a blank piece of paper, the mind works a lot differently. This summer I took a handletter course to refresh how to work with concepts and ideas, on paper, instead of just working directly on the computer. Now I can see more clearly the difference (and the quality) of the experience and the finished job too. Thanks for this great blog!

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