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The essence of design – what is it?

The other day I received a guest post from Viktor Fomin, author of the blog Krufok “Chronicles of the Living Mind of a Philosopher-Copywriter”.

To begin with, in many professional fields of activity, many things are so obvious that they receive little attention. It is believed that it is so simple that there is nowhere else. And if someone asks to clarify the meaning of such a phenomenon, finding that universal fame does not yet guarantee universal understanding, it will either be considered a joke, or they will quickly dump a set of their own conclusions on the person.

In our opinion, one of these “non-negotiable” phenomena is the concept of design. This phenomenon is amorphous, not amenable to a clear definition, and that is why its meaning has long been lost behind secondary signs.

Design is such an unknown animal

The design is universal!
Maxim Vignelli, American advertiser

Let’s define what design is.

It’s not just graphics or ergonomics. Design is a utilitarian principle that reveals the benefits that a person’s life, cultural and objective environment brings.

We thought a little and decided that “design” is now evenly distributed among viral marketing (red rag is design, and bull is consumer); a race with obstacles (to get to the idea that the design embodies, you need to skip over the comprehension of the logo, corporate identity, excessive decoration, etc.); and an absolutely sincere conviction that design is a wrapper around something. The value of this “something” in most cases is leveled, and the wrapper begins to “wrap”, instead of opening and serving correctly.

Viral Design Marketing

As a first example, we can cite the famous Lebedev studio mug with a handle in the shape of @, and the much more famous iPad. Note that we are by no means going to criticize people who have earned a lot of money with a mug and a tablet computer (and there will be no sense from this until we do something “loud” ourselves). We ourselves do not disdain viral marketing – it is often the most effective way to quickly and widely disseminate the necessary information. We just mean that the form for people turned out to be more important than the content, which, in principle, was what marketers wanted.

If you ever came across that very mug @, you might have a seditious thought that the mug is … uncomfortable.

No, it can not be. This is Lebedev’s studio! This, perhaps, says it all. Scandalous fame of the brand plus something that differs from the generally accepted form – design, get it and sign it.

And even the fact that you purchased a piece of pottery with cracks and uneven edges, cast at an unnamed Chinese factory, will not prevent you from rightfully proud of your new mug – let it fly on a coffee break like the Amundsen flag in Antarctica, betraying your undeniable creativity.

We won’t talk about iPad in detail. For many years, Apple has been working on the image of stray aliens, as a result, most are not interested in the technical characteristics of their products – the main thing is to sparkle with an apple in crowded places. In a sense, they are pioneers – they do something, and the rest of the world, including competitors, is watching with bated breath – will it shoot? If so, then the conveyor begins to unwind, stamping the same thing as Yabloko, only “cooler”.

Although, apple fans from this, it seems, is neither cold nor hot. For them, Apple’s design has long become a kind of shield that repels any intrigues of ill-wishers.

The word on the fence is more important than the fence

Obstacle racing in design reigns supreme in visual presentation. This is when all sorts of flowers, ruffles, as well as stunning combinations of shape and color block the main thing – the idea.

For example: getting confused about buttons, trying to order something in an online store.

We repeat: design should not be presented as a separate presentation of something. Design is a part of this “something”, an organic component. Just as advertising should not be smarter than the client, so the design should not resemble a gorgeous blonde, next to which a nondescript product is mincing. In this case, the client is offered to play a detective and find who is in charge in this couple.

Yes, we admit that there is graphic design, there is interior design, there is industrial design, and, in general, the design of all areas of human existence. But all this is just an approach to the overall design, the essence of which is to connect form and content, turning them into a single whole.

Thanks to the author! Let me remind you that it was Victor (aka Krufoko). It turned out very cool – and it touches on such interesting design nuances, which, I confess, I did not think much about.

Let’s take the development of a website for example – often, when discussing the issue of functionality with a client, we focus on future promotion as a very important part of launching an Internet project. But at the same time, many customers still require a beautiful “design wrapper”, investing in this concept almost more meaning and importance than the demonstrated product or company itself. That is, it doesn’t really matter what we do and what services we offer, but look at what a beautiful site we have 🙂 You need to be able to find harmony in this process, which, unfortunately, customers do not always understand.

Although, on the other hand, there are different situations, tasks and goals for different projects – in various promo and image sites, the main emphasis is on design. So the work needs to be approached in a balanced manner and the emphasis must be placed correctly in the implementation of projects. Which is what I wish you all.

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