On Design

DesignThese days we had to work on some glyphs for some components which we’re about to release. Well, we had a great discussion on this because (isn’t it?) we all like to give our favorite color to the bike shed. But sometimes we must overcome our personal passions and inclinations and think to the others. Anyway we do not design for ourselves but for others.

At a first glance we should ask “How do you like it?” And indeed we should.

At a first glance we should obey to what the users  say. And indeed we should.

At a first glance that’s all. But is not… Well, perhaps we must consider that all our users are good intended (and indeed we must) but let us not forget that usually users tend to catch the things which are ‘visible’ to them, – usually UI artifacts – (icons, fonts, colors – look & feel generally). This phenomenon is particularly true if we speak about closed source programs. They think ‘now & here’, influenced by the artistic impression of the design which they have in front of them. And this happens to (almost) all of us when we are users. We tend to forget the strategic values which are embedded in a design.

But a designer, during the fight to accomplish the desires which are expressed by the feedback which he received, should ask itself some questions:

  • the glyph (artistic expression) which I’m modeling transmits clearly the message which I want to transmit?
  • the glyph is above the time? (ie. the thing represented isn’t related to some event which can became ‘outdated’, ‘obsolete’ etc.)
  • the glyph’s metaphor can be expanded easily? (the law (colors, shapes etc.) which is embedded in the glyph can be easily moved to the other company products)
  • can be remembered easily?
  • can be drawn easily and at different sizes?
  • is flexible? (for example, can we alter it a little (eg. by changing the color, shape etc.) from version to version in order to mark the version difference while keeping the same brand recognition)
  • it carries the company look & feel? (color, shapes etc.)

As you see, things are different when you’re designer vs when you’re user. And to recap in few words, a good design needs preparation. And then the design is easy, like the water who flows to a pipe. But the problem is at the beginning when you need to build your pipe.

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