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February 24, 2015

Good design has plenty to do with trial and error - or it should for your brand to be successful

Unless you're business is giving away gold bricks for a dollar, you'll need a well designed site to explain to your target why they should choose you over another business.

Handlettered "A"

What Is Good Design?

Designers who are good at getting their client’s message across in a strategic way are part researcher, part historian, part analyzer, part observer, and part mad scientist.

A Good Design…

  • should never be boring
  • takes into account the user’s wants and needs
  • separates a business from it’s competitors
  • is easy to understand
  • engages the viewer and gets them to think and feel

How a Designer Creates

My first creative director would be smiling...there isn’t much mystery to good design. You know it when you see it, and it can take all sorts of forms and styles. A designer when staring at a blank white space has to decide what to fill it with and how. Sometimes she or he might have a strategist to help guide the creative task with a creative brief. Sometimes the designer has to determine the strategy for the project and write the creative brief.

She or he puts on the researcher and analyzer hats to fully understand what the message means. What the company stands for. How the company wants to be perceived (note: this is how a designer begins to select a style for the design). How the company’s competitors are positioning their messages. How the competition is presenting its image. The historian designer will take a look at their inspiration notebook to see how other designers have solved a problem similar to what they are trying to solve.

Time to Make the Doughnuts

At some point the designer will put pencil to paper and start to generate ideas to solve the problem. This is when she or he becomes a mad scientist and tries multiple variations of a solution. This is also where the client should have negotiated in the agreement that the designer not stop with the first solution in the exploratory phase. I believe the best designs are validated by trying other solutions. If a designer stops at the first solution they may miss a better one. This equates to increase in the budget and is well worth it in the hands of a capable designer.

As a study, here is a single letter designed 8 different ways.

8 designs of the letter "A"

Each solution gives a certain feeling, especially when color is introduced. Subtle color with an elegant lettering conveys sophistication. A bright candy colored background combined with a vintage lettering style gives an interesting contrast. The same colored background with a geometric letter form conveys a boldness and energy.

This post isn’t meant to be a how-to course or even an in-depth analysis of what makes good design. More of a quick dive into what designers do with their time. All opinions are welcome. Leave a comment about how you see design and what you think makes a good designer.

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