Design is in the Bones

by Vesy Ivanova Vesy Ivanova on April 18th, 2010 at 5:25pm

Like the blueprints for a house, design must flow throughout. Beyond simple aesthetics, it is the bones of a good project, guiding the user, informing functionality.  If this is done without much thought, the result will be superficial and off-putting, if you have not planned properly, your house will not stand. Paula Scher at Identity Forum makes an excellent case for good planning

Here is an excerpt:

When organizations are larger, their identities often need to be designed as systems (kits of parts) that allow for complicated organizational subsets to exist and therefore give organizations and corporations the ability to partially personalize departments or sub-brands. Systems often demand that logos become more neutral so they can more effectively accommodate all necessary secondary information.  A complicated logo design, one that might “stand alone” in a design class may simply look too busy in this real-world kind of context. 

Often the identity of an organization that has many subsets can best be brought to life by the use of its supportive materials within the systems (promotion pieces, packaging, websites, signs, merchandising materials). This is an especially effective methodology because it can allow for a logo or identity system to gain resonance and recognition over time in connection to materials that are capable of being far more expressive than logos. For example the Nike logo, which has evolved over time into its current form, became a powerful symbol to the masses because of its effective use in advertising campaigns. The “cool” of the logo happened in connection to some brilliant campaigns by Wieden & Kennedy, and the effective positioning of the mark on merchandising materials. As pure form, if the “swoosh” appeared alone in a design school critique (or on a design blog) it would most likely have been dismissed as too thin, weak, and pointy, looking like a checkmark and not really conveying motion.

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