What is ‘Good Design’ and Does It Still Exist?
I entered a competition through one of the networking groups to which I belong. The winner will receive a free ‘facebook page’. In case you are not aware of this, there are three types of facebook pages, the personal page which allows up to 5000 friends, the fan page, which is now called just a ‘facebook page and the latest, hottest way to promote one’s business, and the group page which has very specific restriction as well as advantages and disadvantages.
The contest, which I entered, requires critiquing the designs of facebook pages a social media designer has done for several of his clients. My comments were mostly very negative and critical, based upon my ‘sense of design’ from years of training in architecture and environmental design, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Design. It also includes my many years of experience not only as a graphic designer, as well as a web designer but also working in other areas of the arts, both fine art and crafts.
I suspect that as with other forms of creative expression, what is considered ‘good taste’ or ‘good design’ is very subjective, generational and changes just as much as fashion as well as all other types of design. Be that as it may, what follows is the gist of my comments about the facebook pages designer’s work:
“First of all, and overall, I find your designs chaotic; they do not have consistency in the placement of information, there is a lack of grids intended for that purpose; there is the use of too many type fonts, random use of colors and poor color combination.
My reactions so far may be generational as I was weened on such typefaces as Helvetica, which is very clean, neat, easy to read and the official typeface of the NYC Subway System. I was also taught to limit the number of type faces used in a project, i.e. no more than one or two preferably one with an italic or bold version of it for emphasis. I see none of this adhered to in the Fan pages.”
I continued, “As I also mentioned, there is no grid pattern to organize the visual and verbal information so the pages appear chaotic to me, hard to read and as a result, make me dizzy. Perhaps, that is your intention and intended style.
“From my understanding of the use of color, the situation is similar. It seems random, unmatched, and is distasteful to me. But this may also be purposeful on your part to create a feeling that some may perceive as appealing and good design; but I feel it violates all my aesthetic senses.”
I actually received an answer from this designer and I have to say he was not only a good sport but quite a gentleman in his responses to what otherwise could have been received very hostilely. He explained that his priority is to provide his clients what they want. And the traditional types of designs were might have both been raised on did not excite his clients. As all business owners know, ‘the client is always right’. I was very impressed by his answers, the time he took to explain things to me and sincerely hope I will be able to continue to be in touch and meet this social media expert.
Yesterday, by no co-incidence, I received an e-mail from a prestigious graphic design magazine that is one of the few traditional ones in the industry that remains in existence, Graphic Design USA. Learn more about the magazine at the following link: http://www.gdusa.com/.
It reported the results of a survey on type design; here is the link to that report. http://www.gdusa.com/eblasts/2010/100506-veer/msg.html
I suspect that most people who consider themselves ‘graphic designers’, ‘web designers’ and especially ‘web developers’ do so primarily because they can navigate through the template programs or work with codes that have made anyone who can use them a ‘desktop publisher’ or an ‘internet based program developer’.
They most likely have never heard of type design; in addition, they are like children who have only lived in cities and consider fallen leaves garbage. I also suspect that these ‘designers’ never realized that someone actually designed the myriad of typefaces from which one can choose to create their ‘art’. Or that any of what I have mentioned even matters; but rather that it is superfluous to their message or mission.
The survey from the magazine includes a link to a well-known company in the graphic design industry that offers stock photos, illustration and typography or type faces for purchase; the company is called veer. Here is a link to their site: http://www.veer.com/
The on-line article about the typeface survey includes a slide show of a newly designed typeface, Brownstone. Here is that link: http://www.veer.com/ideas/galleries/brownstone/. Go to it and click on the slide show.
This is a must see! It is elegant, entertaining and very much to the point that there is still such a thing as ‘type design’, ‘good design’ and in my opinion, ‘good taste’. They are all still in existence, alive and very well but require a client with a certain design sensibility to make them come to life.
- Posted in: Art & Design ♦ Marketing ♦ Social Media
- Tagged: aesthetic senses, architecture, Brownstone, chaotic, color, communication, computer template programs, crafts, creativity, design, desktop publisher, desktop publishing, distasteful, elegant, entertaining, environemntal design, facebook fan page, facebook page, fine art, forms of creative expression, generational, good design, good taste, graphic design, graphic design industry, Graphic Design USA, graphic designer, grid patterns, group page, grpahic designers, Helvetica, html code, lack of grid, latest and hottest way to promote one's business, latest technology, limit the number of typefaces, myriad of typefaces, networking groups, newly designed typeface, organize visual and verbal communication, original type designs, personal facebook page, placement of information, poor use of color, prestigious graphic design magazine, random, random use of color, sense of design, slideshow, social media, social media facebook page designer, stock illustration, stock photography, subjective, superfluous to their message or mission, survey of type design, to the point, type design, type faces, type fonts, typeface survey, typefaces, typography, unmatched, use of color, veer, verbal, visual, web designers, web developers