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Back to Basics

It's easy to get caught up in the digital world these days. Social media, smart phones, emails and texts have taken over almost every aspect of our daily lives, while an infinite supply of streaming compressed music supplies a soundtrack.

Personally, I've had to take a step back from this never-ending vortex of likes, hashtags and downloads and really begin to analyze how it was effecting my life. Was it helping or hindering? I believe, like anything else in life, when taken to excess, it surely can be a bad thing.

As I began collecting vinyl LP's last year, I began to realize a direct connection to the idea of getting back to basics and how this idea connected to my design work. Pencil to paper, needle to record–two very simple ideas that when utilized properly can lead to some very viable solutions that, artistically, create a powerful impact.

As a teacher for 13 years, I had always advised my students to execute their rough ideas through sketching first in order to open up the mind to all the possibilities and flesh out solutions that work. The students who followed this advices were more successful in executing each and every project. Time spent executing the final product is ultimately decreased due to the initial care taken at the onset of the project. The ideas retain the crispness and clarity they started with–all the way through from beginning to end.

I find this concept to be a direct correlation with the process of listening to a vinyl record. Returning to the simple process of placing the needle on the record, paying close attentions to the purity of the sound and interacting with the album art and interior liner. The primitive idea lends itself to a more interactive experience, one that feels more rewarding in the end, which for me was never attained when simply clicking play on an MP3.

Many will argue the points of vinyl not being very convenient or practical in this day and age. But I'd argue that becoming comfortable with convenience can lead to a lackadaisical thought process with cheap and insignificant outcomes.

Of course, the digital era will continue to grow and expand into our lives in new and interesting ways. But we should never get so totally engulfed by it that we forget the basics. The iPhone would have never been conceptualized without the first pencil sketch, and the mp3 would never be here without the first pressing on vinyl.

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