Visual design is hard to improve because some of it is tacit

Explicit knowledge is the stuff that’s easy to explain. It can be learned from books. It’s got easy rules you can follow. It’s easy to share with other people.

Tacit knowledge is different. It’s hard to explain. It’s hard to know you have it. You don’t find it in books. Sometimes people work hard to make tacit knowledge explicit. Then they can write it down. But that’s rare.

Tacit knowledge takes a long time to learn. You surround yourself with it. You soak it in. You might not know if you’ve learned something.

Visual design has lots of tacit knowledge. It’s not simple or easy to get better.

I hope this book makes it simpler and easier.

… understanding that [tacit knowledge] does exist is one of the most useful things you can have happen to you. Once you understand that tacit knowledge exists, you will begin to see that big parts of any skill tree is tacit in nature, which means that you can go hunting for it, which in turn means you can start to ask the really useful question when it comes to expertise, which is: that person has it; that person is really good at it; how can I have it too?

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