Good Design – Bad Design

Aesthetic experiences are those that make life worth living, providing a release from the mundane. A design may need to look appealing or simply be visible but not overpowering. It may be innovative or edify tradition. It is my belief that successful design performs what it is intended for.

It is needless to say, but my opinion of what good design is has changed dramatically over the last two weeks. I now appreciate the dedication and thought that is put into typography and how much a font type can say about a company and the importance of understanding the development of said type.

Rick Poynor: Type is saying things to us all the time. Typefaces express a mood, an atmosphere. They give words a certain coloring.

Such as outlined in Helvetica by Gary Hustwit, a font-type may have deeper connotations than simply aesthetic value. As with Swiss designed typeface Helvetica offers a quintessential metaphor for the often-turbulent struggle between capitalist and socialist sentiments.

The captivating author Thomas W. Phinney, expresses in “TrueType, PostScript Type 1, & OpenType” a set of rules offering solutions to illegible layout using fonts.

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The following stood out for me as successful ways to rectify type layout issues.

  • When working with large bodies of text it is best to use serif fonts as they are easier to read
  • It is best to use small capitals when you need to use capital letters
  • It is best to use only two typefaces
  • Left justified text is easier to read and justified text alters the spacing between words which can make it more difficult to read

Now having knowledge of said rules, I seek to apply these in future designs.

My travels to Kuwait inspired me to pursue design. Exposure to shops and services from around the world – each with inimitable branding, made me aware of the diversity offered within the graphic arts. An example of this is the inclusion of arabesque, and abstract design forms –a tradition heavily influence by the Islamic teachings forbidding imitationalism. Arabesque design was apparent in the advertisements, and menus of shops, many of which had non-Islamic origins. The amalgamation of traditional Islamic Art with modern influences, allowed me to reevaluate my relationship with the graphic arts. I began to think of the graphic arts as an extension of my fine art training and an opportunity to expand my skillset.

To digress, design may be judged and defended in an infinite number of ways. It all depends on the intended purpose – what is needed and wanted for the design.

Thank you for reading!



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