Do you want to know How to identify Good Design? If your answer is yes then this blog provides you all information regarding this.
The concept of subjectivity is being dismantled.
A reader emailed me after reading one of my first Medium blogs, asking a question that struck a chord with me. She wondered if anyone could ever come up with a set of rules that could be used to describe what constitutes “great design” after admitting that design is subjective. “Why not give it a shot?” I reasoned, and here we are with the result.
The topic is divided into two parts, the first of which is the assertion that design is subjective, and the second is the conclusion. In my perspective, that is a fair assessment of the design, although I see where the author is coming from with his comment. People have a proclivity for mixing design and art in the same bucket, resulting in one’s proprieties leaking over the others.
Art is subjective in the same sense that it is analogous to a game in which there are virtually no rules. Design is distinct, and the fact that someone can build a list of principles should be sufficient proof that the game of design in which you engage has certain rules. We can tell whether or not rules are being followed as long as they are in place, suggesting that design is not subjective in nature. I can’t say that design is completely objective because there are always components that are influenced by personal preference, which is influenced by your culture and life experiences.
I believe almost everyone can agree that this is a lovely piece of art; nevertheless, the million-dollar question is whether it is a good piece of art.
Why? Because of the myriad functional faults with which it is beset (go to amazon and read the reviews if you’re interested and/or want to chuckle, or read this), it fails miserably at the one and only duty for which it was designed: aiding you in getting that much-needed glass of fresh juice.
The idea is that something can be “aesthetically beautiful” but still follow bad design principles. You only need to go beyond the surface level and to help you do so, I’ve put together a list of six “checkpoints” that you may use to distinguish between the good and the bad. I’ll try to elaborate on each of these checkpoints due to the amount of intricacy involved.
I believe you can already distinguish which one it is with the help of the lemon squeezer.
1. Is the design functional for its intended purpose?
The requirement for design usually develops when there is a problem that needs to be solved. Whether it’s a website that needs to be improved, a product that needs market research, or a new company that needs a logo, a variety of challenges might develop. The issue might be anything.
The first step in determining whether or not a design is sound is to examine it. There’s no reason to go any further if it doesn’t fix the problem because the design is clearly inadequate. It doesn’t matter how beautiful something is if it doesn’t serve the fundamental purpose for which it was created.
This, in my opinion, is one of the main reasons why many designers are disappointed with their clients or bosses. They have a propensity to get into “design mode” before fully understanding the scenario and merely try to come up with something visually appealing that would help them improve their portfolio. They forget that we are designing for someone else rather than for ourselves and that we must fulfill their needs rather than our own.
In order for your design to be effective, you must first understand and empathize with your client/user. Before you start designing, keep asking yourself “Why?” until you have a firm grasp on the true goal that your design must accomplish. A client may assume they need one thing, but after a few questions, you’ll find out they need something quite different. There’s no other way to be assured you’re attempting to solve the right problem.
You can go to the following checkpoint after deciding whether or not your design is effective.
2. Does it strike the right emotional tone?
To figure out if the tone is appropriate, you’ll need to know two things: the brand and the demographic you’re targeting.
The term “brand” is most commonly associated with corporations, but it is not limited to them; many objects, including yourself, can have a distinct identity. People’s perceptions of you, as well as businesses and pretty much everything else in the world, are shaped by your brand.
A company can take control of their brand by using good design to shape the public’s impression of them in the direction they want.
The audience is the name given to this collection of people.
A company’s target audience is usually defined by the company, and it can range from wide to very specialized. If you already know how you want your company to be perceived and who the design is for, the only question left is: what is appropriate for this audience?
When it comes to design, it’s widely assumed that the larger the audience, the cleaner, and more conventional the design must be; this is why many businesses lose their “soul” as they grow. This happens because certain design gimmicks that work for small niches won’t work for a larger audience, therefore the company “sacrifices” certain gimmicks to attract a larger audience. On the other hand, if your target audience is smaller and more specific, you can use such gimmicks to make the design more appealing and engaging to them as a whole.
Consider a comparison between McDonald’s and your local burger joint to better understand this. Despite the fact that they both sell the same products, they have very distinct communication techniques.
Your neighborhood burger joint frequently makes use of current design trends that appeal to those who identify with them, such as the hilarious illustrations on Byron’s website. McDonald’s, on the other hand, uses more traditional communication to reach a larger audience while avoiding the appearance of patronizing or alienating anyone.
To assess whether a design passes this second checkpoint, you simply need to know what the appropriate tone is and whether the design is successful in properly communicating that tone. If this is the case, you’ve made a big step toward designing a fantastic design.
3. Does it have the ability to stand the test of time?
The passage of time has an impact on good design.
You’d like a design that is timeless, but this isn’t always possible or even desirable. It really depends on the goal of the design and how long it will be in use.
If you’re creating a website for a product that will be updated or modified in two years, for example, you should probably take advantage of current trends to go ahead. This will help you make your design look fashionable, modern, and current. On the other hand, you should try to keep one step ahead of the curve and predict where trends are headed. If you catch the wave too late, it will make you look bad, as if you’re trying to catch up instead of being the one who began it all in the first place.
Instead, while creating a logo that will last for years or decades, it is critical to avoid design trends that are just meant to be transitory. The trend toward simpler logo redesigns, such as Starbucks’, is becoming more common as time goes on. A logo that is basic will be used and continue in use for a longer period of time.
Keeping this in mind, all that is required to pass this checkpoint is a working knowledge of the design’s life span and the capacity to appraise it effectively within that time frame.
Is the design suitable for the estimated lifespan of the product? Stay in there if that’s the case, because there are only three more checkpoints to get through.
4. Is it friction-free?
Friction is described as anything that interferes with a person’s ability to read or use something. The more friction you provide, the more difficult it will be for customers to get what they want out of your design. Friction is generated by things like difficult-to-read text or a difficult-to-navigate website, according to the most basic description.
The fact that designers sacrifice readability and usability in order to make their design “look better” may appear to be an obvious error, yet you’d be surprised how often this happens.
It’s vital to measure your audience’s interest in order to provide as much information as feasible. Avoid information overload, as it will simply add to the complexity of your design. This necessitates a detailed awareness of what your viewer/user requires, as well as the ability to simplify and make that information palatable in a number of settings.
If the design is done correctly, it will blend into the background, making it easy for clients to find what they are looking for. Otherwise, you’re dealing with a bad design, because good design is frictionless in operation.
You’re almost there. There are only two further considerations to be made.
5. Does it have a visually appealing appearance?
We’ve returned to the world of subjectivity. The majority of people prefer to focus on this portion, and it is also the section that generates the most argument and disagreement. It’s impossible to get an agreement on an issue when we simply have our own perspectives, which is why this happens.
However, there is a method for breaking through some of this subjectivity. All you have to do now is study the design principles that result in something pleasing to the eye. These are the traits of good design that may be seen in a wide range of examples.
In the post to which I referenced at the start of this article, I presented a high-level description of them, and I intend to provide a more in-depth deconstruction in the future.
You should increase your knowledge of visual culture in addition to knowing the theory. You may do this by just looking at a design that has been featured by the design community on websites and in books. If you do this, you’ll start to discover patterns in good design, such as well-balanced compositions, beautiful typography, ideal alignments, pleasing color combinations, and a number of other features.
This should be enough to get you on the correct track; nonetheless, passing through this checkpoint will always be subjective; however, because it is only one of six, it should not prevent you from distinguishing between good and terrible design. As I previously stated, good design is not always pleasant to everyone’s eye.
The following checkpoint serves as both a checkpoint and a finish line for the voyage.
6. What does the equation 1+1=3 imply?
The previous five checkpoints have already demonstrated that you have a great design on your hands; this checkpoint is what takes it to the next level.
A close inspection of a design will indicate whether it is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s when a design goes beyond a good blend of fonts and colors; it’s when there’s a great idea that underpins everything and takes it to a whole new level.
Take the FedEx logo, for example, which is both simple and great in execution; just look at it. A little arrow is neatly hidden between the E and the X in the negative area between the E and the X. This arrow is meant to indicate the company’s precision and speed of operation.
This is what separates good designers from great ones. Good designers will rely on their technical abilities and creative ideas based on principles (which, by the way, a machine can detect), but great designers will bring something else to the table. This, I feel, is what great creativity entails.
Finally, a few concluding thoughts
In a nutshell, outstanding design is more than meets the eye; it is a collection of deliberate decisions made with the end-user/viewer in mind, rather than being solely concerned with how it appears.
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