Aesthetics vs ideas

This is a recurring conversation in the world of graphic design, and other creative industries. The act of making something look a particular way for the sake of it, vs basing design choices on a founding idea or principle that grounds it, giving some sort of context or reason. At first it sounds daunting, but in reality it just makes sense.

We live in a world of visual noise. Everything around us is screaming for your attention. Amongst this noise is a sea of lies and deceit. Everyone is trying to look better, look different or look the same as you.

The reality is — not a lot of people are being true to what and who they are, transparency and honesty is real, and needs to become the forefront of any brand, design, or business. Yet today, consumers are becoming more and more aware of the lies and tricks multi-national companies are employing and hiding behind to sell their products.

Graphic design, for me is about an idea. An idea that what you are creating has its own voice, story and identity to draw from when fabricating a visual identity from nothing. Everything I work on, I hunt for this, I try to distill the essence of what I’m creating down to one simple idea. An idea that makes sense, in the context of what content is being shared.

As other designers will know — this doesn’t always end up where you'd like it to be. In the real world, often designers are forced to do what they’re told rather than being more involved in the creative process. Sometimes we have to just let-it-go, and although being a tool to execute someone else’s ugly ideas isn’t glamourus (at the best of times), you learn to pick your battles — sometimes its worth the fight, othertimes it just isn’t worth the effort.

Brands imitate each other left right and centre, without any sense or reason behind it. A lot of them are too frightened of being a forefront thinker to pursue something unique, embracing a point of difference and owning a new space. So they regurgitate the old, in a new way. Often pretending they’re something they’re not. A lot of this comes down to the people in control.

You wouldn’t lie to your friend just to sell something to them, would you? And you know they trust you for it. So why would you lie to a consumer through false pretences? Honesty and provenance is your greatest asset, so learn to embrace it with all you have. Elevate your brand, your ad, your store by being honest — people will respect you more for it. Trends come and go, but good design is timeless.

Written by

Design, Branding & Art Direction.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store