Should I, as a graphic designer, know Flash?

I’m attempting to learn flash this semester. It’s incredibly difficult and I don’t think I’m going to learn it enough to be able to use it on my own.

I’m a graphic designer. I also do web design, when I must (I know HTML 4/CSS. I can make a nice website. It’s not my preference). Should I make an effort to learn flash more completely? I mean, is it an absolute deal breaker for getting a job, or will I be able to manage without?

I’ve managed to get my complete loathing of the program down to strong annoyance, at least at the moment (ask me again next week and I might be back to hatred).

It’s probably a deal breaker for professional jobs. Not so important for amateur work.

Having said that, many seem to think it’s on its way to being obsolete and superseded by HTML5.

I have recently familiarised myself with a couple of ready-built CMS packages. I suggest you do so too, they might cover the kinds of dynamic content you’re concerned about better than Flash does.

GuanoLad beat me to the punch, I was going to say the exact same thing,

What do you do? Freelance or work for a firm?

We do freelance design and editorial here, and knowing Flash basics is crucial to growing and maintaining our business. Web work is a very small fraction or our our output (though it’s a sizable amount), but there are many clients who need it as part of their overall set of services.

It can also have interesting interplay with your billing. A client who wants to work with you for design and implementation isn’t necessarily going to go seeking a series of quotes for ancillary services. While gouging is absurd, there are times when you can get a higher margin for “technical” work than you normally can for a particular project.

Basically, diversity of skills is key. Clients don’t care what the medium is, if they want to work with you they want your output. If you can offer Flash, it can only be a benefit — even if you only have fundamental skills, the minimum necessary to outsource a project to rentacoder or similar outfit, you’ll have a marketable addition to your services portfolio.

I can’t speak to the future of Flash, nor can I say that our circumstances are in any way similar so that this applies.

Flash is cool if you also wanted to play with making any animated films and other fun stuff. It is not horribly difficult to get the hang of, but I do admit it gets a bit tricky the more you want to do with it.

There are some good books out there that take you step-by-step through the process, but there are some disadvantages. An entire website built in Flash might look kind of cool, but there will most likely be some SEO issues and that could mean Google and other search engines will ignore your site. There are ways around that, but still something to think about.

I believe most businesses that are looking for people in web design still expect you to know Flash as well. But as GuanoLad has mentioned, HTML5 might change that. Plus, it didn’t help much that Steven Jobs yesterday pretty much dumped a pile of hate on Flash, and let it be known in no uncertain terms that he wants nothing to do with it on iPhones.

Doesn’t directly answer your question, but read this fresh off the press post by Steve Jobs:

Thoughts on Flash - by Steve Jobs

I’ll be the first to admit there could be some selection bias here, but my experience of websites created by non-web graphic designers is that they are often a bit painful to use, flash websites created by non-web graphic designers even more so.

I guess that probably ought to mean I should answer in the negative for this thread, but I won’t. Put the needs of your audience first, and everything will be fine, assuming you understand the needs of your audience.

I’m going to be the voice of desent here. I would say that it’s not a deal-breaker, with the caveat of it depends where you live and the field of graphic design in which you work.

I am a graphic designer, not a web developer. If I want something created in flash, I work with someone who’s an expert. My job is ideas, not code.

Perhaps it depends on where you live. I live and work in London where the design industry is huge and agencies tend to be large - here, specialists, rather than jack-of-all trades, are preferred. Graphic designers tend to focus on specific areas - brand, print, web etc etc. The only use I would have for flash was if I wanted to do something as personal, private project at home.

However I also realise that outside of the major design centres (London, New York etc), agencies are smaller and designers are expected to be multi-skilled, turning their hands to web, brand, DM, advertising, packaging, whatever.

So, you need to provide more info. Where do you live, what area of design do you intend to work in. Knowledge of flash will never do you any harm, but it might not be the do-or-die skill that you need.

Anyone who works with technology will never be hurt by using and learning new technologies. I can’t predict how long Flash will still be used “by a lot of companies”, but I can tell you that it’ll be long enough to justify learning it.

Software engineering types always talk about how in their profession they pretty much have to learn something new continuously to keep “up to date.” I don’t doubt the truth of that, but old stuff does take a long time to die. People have been bitching about Flash for years (Jobs isn’t the first and won’t be the last), and it’s still around.

HTML5 definitely looks to be a superior solution, but that doesn’t mean much when you have a lot of entrenched use of something. Flash is “dying” in the same way that computing “out of the cloud” is. Meaning, it isn’t “dying” at all, its use is looking to probably decrease over time but you’ll probably still have a sizable number of users indefinitely.

I’m going to second the whole “experts are usually preferred” meme. Basically, if your work does flash development, odds are they’ll have an in house programming guru that handles all the interactivity logic.

Instead of bothering to learn action script, I’d get familiar with the creation and editing of vector based graphics. As an artist, that is your strength and that’s what they’ll want you for. You create the art assets, The programmers make them interactive. Animation of vector graphics though, is probably something you’ll want to pick up too.

I second this. Becoming skilled in the basic design packages - Illustrator, Photoshop and Indesign - is what you need in all areas of design and allows you to create ‘flat’ visuals for others to animate.

HTML5 would be a better investment. Facebook is supporting HTML5 video on their site now. YouTube probably will soon, if not already.

Apple won’t support Flash on the iPhone/Touch/Pad, so that’s a big minus right there.

No problem there; Illustrator is what I’m strongest with.

Yay - I’m good with all three, although with my expertise going in that exact order.

I’m just getting started again - I’ve done graphic design work, but mostly low-level stuff. I’m planning on trying to get an actual job in a few weeks, after I graduate, but I’m going to be doing whatever I can to get money. I have two web design jobs lined up already.

I’m in the Los Angeles area. I’d like to do logo design and package design, but like any beginner I can’t really afford to be picky.

It depends. I think most larger design firms and ad agencies have people who do all the back-end stuff. If you’re in a small agency where everyone plays multiple roles, or if you’re trying to freelance, chances are you’ll need to learn it.

I’m a designer, and I know some basic HTML and CSS. That’s only been a problem with a few of the positions I’ve applied for. The others have been more interested in how well I can work with the programmers and how good I am at coming up with ideas. None of them, including my current employer, have even blinked when I said I don’t know Flash.

That said, more skills are always helpful. I’d say go ahead and learn it. It’s a good skill to have on your resume, and can make the difference between getting an interview and not.

Good luck!

I’ve been asked about my Flash skills every once in a while, but it encompasses so many things nowadays. There’s the coding part of it, the animation part of it, and the web/app compatibility of it. And now, it’s going to take a huge hit unless Adobe can work out something with Apple.

I’ve tried to keep current on Action Script, but it seems to be more of the provision of programmers instead of graphic designers. For the most part though, I’ve been able to design key frames in Illustrator and import them into Flash. Problem is, all the objects get assigned to layers, even if they’re grouped, so you have to do some layer merging after the import. What’s more, the fills and strokes separate. So, make sure everything is nice and complete before the import so you won’t have to edit in Flash.

Good luck on the job search. I’m still searching myself.

It’s really not a deal breaker except for this bad job market.

In the past, you could get by, but now IT people of all sorts are so common that you need to have the minimum requirements or the company will go on to someone else who does. Even if you NEVER will use Flash at the job you apply for, companies will list it, because they know they can get someone who knows it.

I work in design for the legal industry. We create the graphics you see on foam-core boards and PowerPoint presentations in the courtroom during trials, as well as for research exercises and other proceedings outside the courtroom. I have used Flash on very few occasions, and it was so long ago I’d have to say that I don’t know it at all anymore.

We did, however, recently have a giant case we needed to create a flash presentation for. I created most of the design in Illustrator, then assembled a sort of storyboard in PowerPoint, utilizing some of the native features to approximate animation. Then this was handed to a third party Flash expert who worked with us to create the final show. The billings were enormous.

There were times that I wished I could have created all the Flash stuff myself, just to have better control over the project, but then I would have been working 27 hour days, so it worked out well.

Wha? HTML5, for a graphic designer? What is she going to do, use code to make a friggin’ animated SVG that won’t work in all browsers until 2020? Graphic designers aren’t going to code animations with SMIL. That will either go to a coder, or someone will make an application just like Flash where you make an animation on a timeline and it will write the code for you.

Flash isn’t going away. I’d learn how to work with making simple animations with tweening, and maybe really basic ActionScript like pressing button A to make object B fade in and out. Something like this sample.

I’d say spend the time on technologies other than Flash so you can accomplish everything a client thinks requires Flash. When you get there, you’ll be two years ahead of all those who only know Flash and be vastly more valuable. Not to mention their web site will be more useful by working on iPhones and iPads as well as fully indexed by search engines.

Flash is a technological dead end.