The science and art of arresting human intelligence long enough to change its mind.
Beautiful - it is both a science (formulas, research) and an art (creativity, aesthetics, reactions) that arrests (captures, holds onto) the mind just long enough, no more (boring) and no less (inattentive) to persuade the viewer/listener/reader to do something.
Advertising is not about selling - that is just one result of effective advertising, but its not what advertising is. Advertising is mental stimulation, manipulation. All ads are propaganda.
Areas of Design
The specific professions or areas of study within the broad category of design can generally be grouped into these six areas:
Architecture: Building design, landscape design, environmental design, urban planning.
Fashion: Almost everything that adorns the human body: clothing, fabrics, jewelry, make-up, hair.
Graphic: Design, illustration, cartooning, digital design, corporate identity, animation, advertising art, information design, environmental graphics.
Industrial: Product design, furniture and furniture systems, equipment.
Interior: Residential, commercial, space planning, lighting, furniture, traffic flow.
Theater: Set design, lighting design, costume design.
Asking numerous artists and 'non-artists' to define art yields one response - no one seems to have a clear grasp of what art is. We know it when we see it. But how to define it? The only definition that everyone, so far, seems to agree on is that 'art' is a shortened form of the name Arthur. Other than that, there are just observations:
Art is any experience from which one derives aesthetic pleasure (whatever that is).
Art is an experience, a feeling, a reaction; not an object.
Art is new and original - we most likely have not seen it before.
Art is not absolute, it is up to the viewer.
All great art has a heartbeat.
Great art changes the viewer in some way, even if just for a minute.
Good art should cast a spell - pitch you out of your world.
Good art should help the viewer:
see in new perspectives,
inspire awe, and
Art is short for Arthur.
The person (or group) who desires the determined result and who solicits and pays for the designer's services.
• The entity in need of a solution.
Propose design solutions that address the client's marketing and communication problem, not what the client says he/she wants. Clients rarely know what is best for their needs. Research to determine the real problem and the real need.
The exchange of information to comprehend a message.
• Four components of communication:
1. sender: source of the message.
2. message: the content. Carried by a medium - the vehicle that transports the message.
3. receiver: the intended audience of the message.
4. response: for communication to take place, there must be some reaction to the message.
• Thinking without fear.
• Thinking without constraint. Pure thought.
A mental creative problem solving process to change an attitude.
Conscientious effort to impose meaningful order from chaos.
A conscientious effort to impose meaningful order.
Design creates order out of chaos.
Definitions of design from other people
"Simply put, it is visualizing ideas."
Jessica Helfand, Graphic Designer
"A synergy of form and function, a coming together of these elements rather than a pulling apart."
Richard Lambertson and John Truex, Accessory Designers
"The creative leap sparked by enlightened trial and error."
David Kelley, IDEO
"Instilling structure and soul into our naturally chaotic and unintelligible environment."
Laurinda Spear, Architect
So, while it is hard to define, most designers and scholars acknowledge that the act of designing involves these 3 things:
1. It is a problem solving activity
2. It is an act of creativity
3. It is about visual communication
Successful design should be innovative, original, and unique. Design is primarily a mental exercise. The activities of research, discussion, execution, and production are physical acts but they exist only to support the mental act of creative problem solving.
The effective visual communication of a specific body of information to a specific body of people to achieve a specific result.
Formerly called Commercial Art, graphic design is usually two-dimensional work presented to an audience in mass quantities: corporate identity, newsletters, brochures, posters, maps, signage, etc.
What graphic design is all about
Problem solving and problem seeking.
Innovating: creativity, open-minded exploration, taking risks.
Communicating clearly: break through clutter to the real message.
Persuading: change people's minds and attitudes.
Paying thorough attention to detail: in thinking, producing, and presenting.
Asking the right questions: specific, focused.
Making things better: find improvements, impact society.
Passion: commitment, desire, love, dedication, pleasure.
Courage: assertiveness, confidence, less fear, taking risks.
Persistence: stick-to-itiveness, commitment.
Participation: team player, confidence, offer.
Doing more than is expected: push further.
Compromise: tolerance, sensitivity, team player.
Having fun: enjoying the process and results.
Graphic Design is creative problem solving.
Graphic Decoration is rearranging elements to look pretty.
What graphic decoration is all about
Rearranging: moving elements around
Arty: just making things look 'pretty'
Shallow: not at the root of issues or problems
Randomness: haphazard layout compositions
Mimicking: following and copying trends and fads
Why so much decoration?
Much 'design' is just decoration, prettier pictures. Not effective. Just surface response.
Are designers afraid to dig deep?
Are they lazy?
Artists trying to make a living?
Instant gratification - gotta have it now.
Designers seduced by technology - see it as a panacea, not a tool.
Influenced by the immediacy of the internet & web, MTV, ads.
Clients who don't know better - and are willing to pay for decorations.
Many 'designers' flip through CA magazine and mimic trends, the fashion, the gimmicks, the clichés. This isn't design.
Great design is concept-driven and content-driven.
Decorators usually don't come up with good concepts nor understand the content or its audience.
• The vehicle which carries a communicated message.
The plural of medium is media, not mediums.
The body of people to whom the message is aimed.
There are often primary, secondary, and tertiary target markets. These targets or markets must be very specific.
Synonyms: audience, reader, user, viewer
Purpose of advertising and graphic design
To persuade the target market to change its mind/attitude; a changed attitude then changes behavior which then results in: buy, attend, participate, donate, call, vote, etc.
One traditional definition of advertising is to sell a product, idea, or service. That is not it. Selling is a result of changed behavior which is a result of changed attitude. It is important for designers and advertisers to understand that one is dealing with the human mind and its attitudes, perceptions, and prejudices.
What design is all about
1. Problem solving and problem seeking.
2. Innovating: creativity, open-minded exploration, taking risks.
3. Communicating clearly: break through clutter to the real message.
4. Persuading: change people's minds and attitudes.
5. Paying thorough attention to detail: in thinking, producing, and presenting.
6. Asking the right questions: specific, focused.
7. Making things better: find improvements, impact society.
8. Passion: commitment, desire, love, dedication, pleasure.
9. Courage: assertiveness, confidence, less fear, taking risks.
10. Persistence: stick-to-itiveness, commitment.
11. Participation: team player, confidence, offer.
12. Doing more than is expected: push further.
13. Taking action: just get up and do something.
14. Compromise: tolerance, sensitivity, team player.
15. Having fun: enjoying the process and results, joy.
Problem solving, problem seeking.
Great designers are not satisfied with the status quo, the norm, or mediocrity, or 'good enough'. They constantly are on the lookout for challenges and problems to address. They understand the process and procedures necessary to complete to effectively develop efficient solutions to challenges/problems.
Mary Wells Lawrence, who founded and ran a successful ad agency, said:
"The more you understand the problem, the easier the solution becomes."
For design to be effective, it must be unique, it must be fresh. Design solutions must be accepted by the user and they should convey that the user will be better off with the solution than they were before the solution. This improvement requires new ways of looking at options, new materials, new combinations of ideas, and new ways or production. Great designers solve problems with open-minded exploration. They take risks.
Great design requires communication between the designer, through the client, a to the intended user, audience, or target market. People today are bombarded with vast amounts of information. For a design solution to be effective, it must break through that clutter to get to the real concept, idea, or message. For this communication to be most effective, it must be clear - legible, readable, comprehensible; appropriate for the intended user.
For design to be effective, the solution must be accepted by the audience/target market. The solution must change people's minds and attitudes to do its job. Manipulation of materials, information, and procedures is necessary to implement successful solutions.
Paying attention to detail.
Details are the fine points - the manifestations of thorough exploration and production. Details complete the task, make it whole. Designers who pay close attention to the fine points, the details, will have an easier and more efficient way of producing and selling design.
Asking the right questions.
Design solutions require research and information - vast amounts of information. For the solution to be effective it must be based on appropriate possibilities. To efficiently determine what information is valuable, the designer must ask numerous questions. These, however, need to be the right questions - they must be specific, seeking specific information. Research can and should start off with broad inquisitions, but the focus must be narrowed as soon as feasible.
Jack and Max are walking from a religious service. Jack wonders whether it would be all right to smoke while praying.
Max replies, "Why don't you ask the Priest?"
So Jack goes up to the Priest and asks, "Father, may I smoke while I pray?"
The Priest replies, "No, my son, you may not! That's utter disrespect to our religion."
Jack goes back to his friend and tells him what the good Priest told him.
Max says, "I'm not surprised. You asked the wrong question. Let me try."
And so Max goes up to the Priest and asks, "Father, may I pray while I smoke?"
To which the Priest eagerly replies, "By all means, my son. By all means. You can always pray whenever you want to."
Moral of the story is - the reply you get depends on the question you ask.
Making things better.
Humans progress by finding ways to accomplish tasks more efficiently. Some of these ways are to make things (products, ideas, systems, processes, materials, etc) more convenient, safer, easier to operate, a better value, and easier to produce. Great designers seek such improvements in order to better impact society.
To excel at anything, certainly design, requires a sincere deep love to push oneself further. Great designers are committed to be their best. Their desire and love of the process, influence, and impact of design allows them to succeed. It is passion that connects us to our work and to others. It helps create our personal identity.
Pushing the envelope in design is scary. It requires the designer to take risks. Those that are on the cutting edge, where the fun is, have a high degree of self-confidence, assertiveness, and they more easily overcome their fears. It is their courage that allows them to be unique, exploratory, curious, childlike, and inventive.
To make things happen, great designers don't give up easily. They are committed to solving problems and finding solutions that work.
Designers are active participants in the communities around them. They are not bystanders. Experiencing life fully allows designers to make connections more easily.
Doing more than is expected.
Design is a competitive industry. Anybody can do what is expected or what the client asks for. Great designers don't limit themselves. They and their work go beyond, to provide greater value.
Great ideas and courageous thoughts do no one any good until they are put into action. To be a better designer, just get up and do something - anything - just get moving and get started.
All decisions one makes are compromises. To gain something, something must be given up. Designers must be sensitive to the line of compromise. Many design decisions require agreement by other team members, supervisors, or clients. Some give-and-take will be necessary.
The human brain loves nothing more than meeting challenges, finding the 'Eureka, Ah Ha' moment. That is growth and excitement. Your brain lives for that. When it stops solving problems, improving, making things better, persuading, innovating; then it stagnates, slows down, and dies. The mind derives much joy from the design process and its results. The creative problem solving process of design is just plain fun.