Great design shows about the content
They are everywhere. People who will ‘just’ design a logo, icon or other graphic design. Clients are happy to contribute; they want a lot for less money and the work must be finished yesterday. So everybody who knows his or her way around in Adobe Illustrator, QuarkXPress or even Microsoft Publisher or, hence, Microsoft Word can do that.
Unfortunately day-2-day practice show that the results are often disappointing. Admitted, sometimes the design ‘shows’ quite well, though the big question is if the target audience will make the correct association. Because a good design shows something about the content, product or brand.
Let’s take the new design of the App icons within Microsoft Office 365 as an example. They have changed numerous times over the years, mostly to fit the common taste of that era. But today, more than ever before, at designing the designers took a proper look at the ‘content’ behind it.
With the Microsoft Excel icon you obviously see the well-known cells within the spreadsheet. The new OneNote icon clearly shows the tabs for notetaking. Word has the text lines and in the Microsoft Teams icon you clearly see people how collaborate. They gave it a good thought. The ‘thinking part’ on how you can use a graphic design to tell something about the content, product or brand is the most important part of the design. Because a logo, icon, banner or any other graphic picture that doesn’t tell about the content will not give the person who sees it any association with that content.
Long story in a short version; a good graphic design takes time. Time for research, empathy, the design, trial and error, testing and collecting feedback and all the other stuff. This simply cannot be done in a couple of hours as a ‘side job’. It is craftsmanship. Craftsmanship requires an investment. But that is not the most important. Question yourself not the investment, but what it will bring to you.
Article original published on LinkedIn by our graphic designer Karin Gebbink.