Is D.I.Y. Bad for Design?

Viriginia Postrel has a piece on D.I.Y. design in the March/April issue of Print magazine. Postrel is a professional writer, not a designer, whose crossover book The Substance of Style helped convince people in business and cultural institutions that design has something to offer the economy. Her book was directed not at designers, but at the rest of us.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that she celebrates the rise of D.I.Y. design in her piece for Print. Postrel thinks it’s good for designers, as well as for the public at large, that design tools are becoming more available. Here’s how her essay concludes:

“Little of today’s D.I.Y. design is a substitute for the real challenges of professional practice. It’s either routine or purely personal—the equivalent of home-style cooking, not a four-star restaurant meal. We wouldn’t eat better, or appreciate fine cuisine more, if only certified chefs could buy fresh ingredients or use pots and pans. Access to typefaces doesn’t define good graphic design any more than access to a word processor and a dictionary guarantees good writing. The more amateurs do things themselves, the more they develop a refined taste for good professional work—whether in the kitchen or at the design station.”

Read more by Virginia Postrel on her blog, of course.