I had never studied design before this week. I thought it wasn’t something that related to my degree or my education, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. However, I learned from the brainpickings article “A Kid’s Guide to Graphic Design by Iconic Designer Chip Kidd” that “Whether you realize it or not, most of the decisions you make, every day, are by design.” Well okay then! I guess design has a bigger part in my life than I had previously thought!
As I thought about it more, I realized the huge impact that design has on everything that we do. Especially in our social media world, where people can design their online presence and tailor it so that others will see what they want them to. Another quote that really stuck out to me is “Everything that is not made by nature is designed by someone.” I realized the huge part that design plays in the world for all of us.
I also read a short booklet called “The Vignelli Canon.” The author states that there are three important aspects in design: Semantic, Syntactic, and Pragmatic. These three aspects gave me an unpleasant flashback to my linguistics class last semester. However, it was interesting to learn about these aspects in design. Semantics refers to the search of the meaning of a design. The syntax of a design is provided by many components such as the structure, grid, typefaces, text, headlines, and illustrations in graphic design. If a design is understood after it is complete, this is pragmatics. If a design is not understood, it fails to communicate, and is a wasted effort.
I also liked what the author said about wanting design to be visually powerful. He states that “We think good Design is always an expression of creative strength bringing forward clear concepts expressed in beautiful form and color, where every element expresses the content in the most forceful way.” He goes on to express the endless possible ways there are to achieve this goal.
I followed up on the reading by thinking about some examples of design and considering questions like: What makes a poster look like a poster? What makes a book cover look like a book cover? I would say that a poster usually has a large attention-grabbing picture and minimal words. A book cover is usually a little more modest, highlighting the title and possibly some additional quotes or statements about the book, along with a picture or design that reflects what the author wants you to take away from a book. Unless it is a book with a picture from the movie, which I am not a fan of and would be more similar to a movie poster.
Overall, there are a lot of aspects of design that I had never considered until this week. I also really appreciated that I was able to build on the skills I learned other weeks and use them in thinking about design. I think I would have really struggled if the design module had come before photography or audio. As I go forward, I will definitely be thinking more how everything around me is designed, and how those designs help to tell stories.