Good design is not about how many colours, fonts and techniques one can cram into each job. Good design is about reaching your target audience in the best way possible. Simply put, good design is the ability to effectively communicate ideas to your target market.
Many persons look at what designers do as if it is something simple and easy. They think that it’s simply throwing words unto images in Photoshop and praying that it comes out looking good. For a good designer however, this is not the case. Most of my jobs start before I even power up my system. I begin most jobs with a design brief (good old pen and paper first). Putting into words all the information that I was provided by the client as well as all the observations I made during the initial meeting. Arranging it in such a way that I begin to develop an image in my mind. This image is then put to paper using a pencil (yes I still sketch; I’m old fashioned like that). Enough about me, let’s get back on point.
If your audience takes more than a couple seconds to get the gist of the message you’re trying to communicate, then you my friend, have failed. There is no but! Remember, for most aspects of design (especially motion designs) we only have a few seconds to send a convincing message, whether it’s a commercial selling a product or a documentary selling a concept.
In order to communicate effectively using design, there are a few principles (to be discussed at a later date) you will need to take into consideration, as well as some questions you have to ask yourself.
These principles will be broken down in the following article. For now we’ll just focus on simple design. Design may be defined as “a roadmap or a strategic approach for someone to achieve a unique expectation.” With that in mind…picture this. You are going on a trip to some exotic locale, you are all packed and ready to ship off. All you need now is a map so you stop at the nearest store which sells them. Now, there are two maps to choose from;
- This one is simple, only the necessary roads and information is contained on it and the colours contrast nicely so you can glance at it and quickly get your bearings.
- This map is more complex, the main roads and information is accompanied by EVERY single road and path in the area (even the goat paths) as well as all businesses in the area 9even the failed ones). The colours are loud and gawky and do not contrast well. Every time you want to check your bearings you have to stop the car and begin to study the map as if it’s new.
Which map would you take? It’s the same with clients and your designs. Think of each design as a map you are giving to your clients which they will then give to their clients. They have to be able to quickly figure out what the message you are sending is supposed to be.
I guess when you break it down I’m essentially saying to Keep It Simple Stupid! (KISS design approach in case you didn’t know.)