What makes design good?

A few weeks ago I posted an arti­cle on beau­ti­ful design ver­sus good design.

In that arti­cle, I touched on the basic qual­i­fier for good design being that it com­mu­ni­cates the client’s mes­sage. While true, it’s a pretty sim­plis­tic def­i­n­i­tion that I wanted to explore fur­ther. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion may be the foun­da­tion, but there are nuances and ele­ments that weave together to make a design truly good.

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It’s pretty, but is it good?

THERE’S LOTS OF BEAU­TI­FUL DESIGN FLOAT­ING AROUND, BUT HOW MUCH OF THAT IS GOOD DESIGN? As a designer, I strive to make my work beau­ti­ful. I think it’s a wor­thy goal, but there’s always a lit­tle voice in the back of my mind ask­ing “is it good?”

Design­ers have quite a few options when we look for affir­ma­tion that our work is good. Tools like Dribb­ble or Behance let us post our work and get design­ers around the world to cri­tique it. In a more focused set­ting there are sites ded­i­cated to brand­ing or typog­ra­phy that also pro­vide cri­tique or we can par­tic­i­pate in com­pe­ti­tions that honor good work.

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That’s Your Opin­ion

That’s your opin­ion.” I think that PHRASE just might be the tough­est thing that a designer faces when pre­sent­ing work.

It’s a phrase that simul­ta­ne­ously dis­cred­its the data, research, plan­ning, and skill that goes into the cre­ative process to arrive at the solu­tion pre­sented and ratio­nal­izes design by com­mit­tee by plac­ing every opin­ion at the same level. We’ve prob­a­bly all been there and it results in a frus­trat­ing envi­ron­ment for both design­ers and clients.

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On Typog­ra­phy and the Art of Let­ter­ing

It might be some­what inac­cu­rate to sim­ply label this cat­e­gory as typog­ra­phy when it will con­tain arti­cles on both typog­ra­phy and let­ter­ing, but I believe the intent is clear enough.

There is also some­thing that is partly ironic about writ­ing on typog­ra­phy using a medium that as of yet does not fully sup­port the art. I hope that the typophiles among us will for­give the lim­i­ta­tions of tech­nol­ogy. Type, let­ter­ing and the study of typog­ra­phy are a love of mine. There is some­thing mag­i­cal about the vari­a­tions in the form of let­ters that cre­ates the almost infi­nite cat­a­log of type­faces avail­able to the designer and end­less hours can be spent explor­ing the con­struc­tion of let­ter forms.

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Hello World

This update has been a long time com­ing. I think it’s been over two years since I redesigned my blog and, I’ll admit, that I’ve been less than reg­u­lar with posts.

Partly this was due to life and partly due to lack of desire to keep up with writ­ing when there was already so lit­tle time for doing. How­ever, in the past sev­eral months I’ve had ample oppor­tu­nity to think about what being a designer is all about. There have been many design­ers who are far greater in skill and knowl­edge than myself through­out the his­tory of our pro­fes­sion. Despite far busier sched­ules, design­ers that we look up to like Paul Rand or Hebert Bayer have all found time to write about design.

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