Monday, November 20, 2006

The Use of Design

What is graphic design for? Many people think it is for making their communications pretty. A kind of decoration for boring text. This couldn't be further from the truth.

Bad design may be merely decoration. But good design is a form of communication itself. It uses text—which is communicating something the communicator considers important (hopefully)—and enhances the transmission of that message using visual cues, metaphors, and beauty. It can alter the mood, evoke a response, and draw the reader in before the message is ever read.

This is important to understand, because I've seen, and been requested, to use design to make a bad message better. Some people want to use design to enhance a bad reputation or revive their brand without making any substantive changes in the brand itself. They view design as the process of decorating a message.

Unfortunately this can be done. But is it right? Shouldn't design make an appeal rather than making a bad idea appealing?

1 comment:

  1. You ask if a designer should use his skill to enhance a bad brand or revitalize a tainted reputation. I correlate what we do as to what a surgeon or defense attorney does: use your ability and knowledge to heal the patient or free the suspect, at times while holding your nose, but never do harm. I can say this because I’ve done work for Democrats and Republicans, strip clubs, arts bureaucracies and non-prof organizations.
    I won’t say as to which I hold in higher regard. -RocklinJohn

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