Andy Rutledge has composed a nice little graphic design test on his site that I encourage all designers to take and all non-designers to read. The test asks questions about design fundamentals that highlight the difference between creativity and design. Rutledge also aims to illustrate that many designers today are not designers in the traditional sense but instead are simply being creative.
Creativity is not design. Creativity has nothing to do with design. Creativity is bound by no laws, rules, or strictures …which is perhaps why it’s so intoxicating (sometimes to the point of delusion). Design, on the other hand, is based entirely on math, psychology, human perception, and a host of rigid rules and laws that can be broken by only a highly skilled few. Those unfamiliar with these laws and rules, and the associated sciences are by no definition designers.
Here is a sample question from the quiz.
21. Compare the layouts below. Which one possesses a clear hierarchy of information? How is this accomplished? In what other ways could the same effect be accomplished?
There is no answer key and most of the questions require an essay to answer. However, getting the answers "right" isn't the point. For most designers the test is a good refresher and for some a wake-up call. Non-designers can benefit from taking a look as well as it offers insight into the thought process behind graphic design which goes deeper than most people consider.
The test gave me a warm flashback to my days in design school. Hopefully it does the same for you.