Complex Yet Maybe Not

There is a quote commonly attributed to Einstein, though he never actually said it, that goes: “everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler”. I feel like this is what Chip Kidd’s book Go is about. He makes the basis of design seem easier to understand, while not being condescending or dumbing down the material. Certainly, the article, and the excerpts from the book that it included, are substantially easier to digest than The Vignelli Canon. While that booklet is not extraordinarily difficult to read as a college student, and the author Massimo Vignelli does occasionally use first person, which helps the readers to connect with him, just as Kidd does, with all of the rules and guidelines, it can seem a bit pretentious to non-designers, and it is definitely more for serious students of design and not casual readers, particularly kids. Vignelli’s booklet is more for designers to reference, while Kidd’s, with it’s simplier, easier text is more for kids to get “go”ing on creating art!

What struck me most from reading both of those links was that I never thought about graphic design being a problem-solver. It suppose each time you create something, it does solve something. To me, I always thought graphic design had a purpose, but the purpose was to draw attention to something, to give meaning to something. For example, the graphic design of a poster is to draw attention to it and help tell more what the poster is talking about without having to say anything-give the mood of the poster. I guess in a way, the poster does solve the issue of getting people to look at the poster.

Certainly I knew that graphic design had a lot going into it, though I never imagined the all rules and guidelines that Vignelli mentioned! I also never thought about how many endless possibilities there were. The beginning line of the article, “It doesn’t occur to most people that everything is designed — that every building and everything they touch in the world is designed” (Bill Moggridge) also struck me, as it is true, but I never payed any attention to it. The comforter I’m lying on, the computer I’m typing on, the room I’m in, all of it is designed. Yet, I never really considered it. I look at one of the articles linked in the main article, which talked about urban use of space. It was interesting how much impact aspects of a physical space can have on its use. For example, a plaza is a good one if its on a street corner, preferably a busy one, and if one can’t tell where the street and the plaza or open space start and stop, if they meld together. All together, these aspects could mean a very busy social life in that spot. Streets and plazas could be designed with this in mind. However, those things aren’t graphic design. Another article I read was about all of the different artists who made up book covers for Lolita. I will say-book covers are one area where I do look at the design critically, or at least notice. My friends and I spend a lot of time in Barnes&Nobles, in the teen section, the kids section, and the nonfiction section. In the teen section in particular, as I am still a teen, I take notice of the covers of the books. The old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t really apply. After all, if that was the case, all of the graphic designers for those books would be out of a job and probably be quite offended! The covers of these books may catch my eye and make me want to read them, or they may make me have preconceived negative notions of the contents. Sometimes I do wonder what goes on in the designers’ heads! It was interesting to see all of those various interpretations of the cover, from the ones who followed what the author wanted to those who took their own path, as well as what those designers were trying to get across and what that meant for the mood and tone of the cover.

Overall, I think what I’ve picked on from these readings were how complex graphic design is, and how integral to society is also is, while yet also being something that is something for all ages and areas of life. I can’t tell if this makes me more nervous about trying out graphic design for myself or not, but at least I am more knowledgeable now!

This is where my Featured image is from. I didn’t want to pull any pictures from the articles,as they’re probably copyright, so I decided that since graphic design involves color, a color wheel would make sense! The color wheel I chose is also somewhat complex-looking, while still being easy to understand, so I thought it fit the title well.


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