“The public is more familiar with bad design than good design. It is, in effect, conditioned to prefer bad design, because that is what it lives with. The new becomes threatening, the old reassuring.” —Paul Rand
As a designer, it’s hard for me to think someone could pick a bad design when presented with a good one, but I know it’s true. Like many young designers, I used to give the client a few original concepts and a few concepts that were exactly what they asked for, but looked horrible. I wanted to show that I could follow direction, but I compromised myself for doing work I knew was bad. I bet you can guess which one the client picked. I learned quickly that there is a difference in what the client wants and what the client needs.
Good design is worth fighting for. Good art is not safe. Comfortable brands do not change the world. Designers can make any brand “look cool” but it won’t be successful if the purpose behind it is flat, safe and uninspired. If you’re a designer or brand advocate, be a world changer one client at a time, educating clients on the “why” behind the design. If you’re a client, communicate your passion and purpose to your designer, and be open to new ideas that you may not have thought of before. If clients and designers work together we can make the world a better, more beautiful place. Bad design doesn’t have to be normal.
I’m not content with bad design. I’m not content to settle for average because good design is worth fighting for.
Good design matters.
Emily Carlton is a freelancer and graphic designer for a large church in Texas. She loves giving a good brand a much-needed do-over and helping clients feel good about their visuals. Good brands deserve good design!