Many of us, whether advanced in years or younger, have hopped on the wagon of “digital” and embraced it. After all, this is how and where the world is heading, and we have no reason to stay behind.

I have been in digital prepress since 1980s, being one of the early Mac pioneers in DTP (desktop publishing). Through the decades, I have seen many marketers and even agency folks bewildered at the technologies and workflow behind digital publishing, and yet pressured production professionals for anything ranging from silly to utterly outlandish requests. I have been a designer, and so while a typical designer can design practically anything on paper or on screen, not everything illustrated can be easily or affordably produced, and on time. In fact, some designs can’t even be produced realistically at all.

The best designers therefore, are those who understand production technologies and workflow, and design with the constraints in mind. There is no point shooting for the sky if you are set to fall in flames, ingloriously. Likewise, the best photographers or videographers are those who can shoot with all the presets done right, rather than hoping to repair botched shoots in post-production. All post-production repairs are expensive and a waste of time and human goodwill.

I overheard one of the most hilarious incidents recently, when a marketer insisted on having “bleed” on some digital banner designs. All those who heard such a request fell on the floor laughing (OK, I exaggerated). Even for on-demand printing, there is sufficient design tolerance if done right, that the notion of “bleed” is less and less of a worry. And of course, in the world of digital, “bleed” does not apply, at all.

Many of my peers have commented how fast the world moves today. Even for a techie like me, I learn something new every day, whether it be SSL (secure sockets layer), content management, SEO/SEM, online video, animation, or even writing copy itself. There is no shortage of something new moving just ahead of us, and it is up to us to keep up.

Not keeping up is no longer an option if we intend to survive in the digital space, especially for all of us who are in communication, marketing, branding, media, or even journalism. Even as an adjunct professor, what I encounter is that more and more learning resources are demanded by learners to be online, rather than be restrained to a classroom. The first thing anyone would look for a resource these days, is through a search engine of some kind, rather than take a transit or bus to the nearest library.

Keep learning, keep trying, keep doing, and keep looking ahead.