What is Good Design?

Information on ‘good design’ is hard to come by. There are many books that contain collections of what the compiler thought was representative of exciting, groundbreaking, clever or contemporary designs. There are books on design that is considered ‘classic’. We could ask the question, why is it considered a classic? Is it that a long life-span or memorability indicated good design? Usually ‘good ‘design’ is conferred on a piece that simply and effectively communicates its message. Peer review works for scientific papers but doesn’t mean much with design. Getting a design award from other designers is nice but doesn’t mean the piece of design was successful, only that other designers liked it.

At the profession level your business is working at, it’s probably safe to say that you won’t encounter or commission ‘bad’ design. It’s a bit like if you were to buy a new car, there are really no ‘bad’ cars as there once were. All new cars meet a very high standard of performance and safety (barring recent Toyota recalls of course!). The question instead become – how can you get more effective design? How can you communicate better through your design?

In good product design, form follows function – there is no need for ‘go faster stripes’ or as Alec Issigonis, the designer of the Mini put it, ‘spoiling good design with gargoyles’. It’s actually the same with graphic design.

So good design is simply – “does it work?”.

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Keeping control of your creativity

Of course you’re likely to hire an agency of some description to create your graphic designs. Perhaps you have an in-house team. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t outsource your creativity too. You need to use your creativity and inventiveness to interface with the technical skills of a professional designer. Don’t leave it to them. That’s when things go wrong. The design may be ‘award winning’ or pretty – but does it work? Does it sell?

Remember: You are a creator. You are an artist. You are the designer of your product or service. Get the right team around your to technically realise your ideas, but don’t relinquish your creative control to an external designer or anyone else.

Call us today on +44(0)1865 779944 to discuss how we can turn your expertise into a brand or create a book with selling power.

Turn your Blog into a book:
www.blogtobook.co.uk 

Book Ayd to speak at your event.
For more interesting info see:

www.sunmakers.co.uk
www.aydinstone.com

7 tips on what not to do when commissioning a designer

1. Vague meaningless brief

Giving a wide or vague brief won’t get more creativity out of your designer. It will get less. The designer will freeze and produce only safe and conservative ideas.

2. Imposed restrictiveness

A brief needs to restrict. That’s what it’s there for, to say what you want and don’t want. But don’t put artificial restrictions on it such as ‘it must be red’ if there’s not a compelling reason that it should be. You’re just losing put on it being blue, or whatever which could work so much better, but you’d never know.

3. Demand free pitches

Would you want to do your work for free with the hope that after you delivered your service, you might get paid? Probably not and we should question designers’ abilities and motives who are prepared to work like this. Aren’t they good enough to get market rates for doing a proper job? Like everything, you get what you pay for.

4. Variety of decision makers

You’ll waste time and money if you go down a route of revision and change without consulting your real decision maker. You’ll so easily end up back at the beginning having wasted a load of effort.

5. Loose deadlines and unknown availability

Set reasonable deadlines and inform everyone involved. There’s no point in getting a design team to rush the job only to find the decision maker is away for two weeks. Unavailability like this can sometimes mean delivery deadlines missed. The job was done, but there was to-one around to sign it off.

6. Can we just…

Don’t assume that any and every change is simple and easy. A good designer will do what is necessary for the job to work, but saying “can I just… see it in blue” may mean hours of work.

7. Assume large prices equals more creativity and quality

A large agency with a wonderfully exquisite marble reception needs more money to keep operating. What proportion of you fee do you want to be spent on agency luxuries? It depends on the job. Placing what to you is an important and expensive job, costing you a few thousand to an agency whose average job is worth tens of thousands means you’re gong to go to the bottom of their attention pile. Your job will probably be handed to a junior where with a more modest agency, you’d get the creative director on your case. Chose the right kind of designers for the right kind of job. How much should you pay for a piece of work? Like anything you’d buy – shop around.