Monday, April 11, 2011

Journal 9: Design Observer

On the subject of Futura, I've been seeing it everywhere. And because I read the article, Type Means Neve Having to Say You're Sorry from The Design Observer a while back, each time I am more determined to not fall to the popular Futura wave. I'd rather use Akzidenz Grotesk, or Univers.

I also read Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Typeface by Michael Bierut and Ten Graphic Design Paradoxes by Adrian Shaughnessy. I loved how Michael Bierut became a type slut after leaving Massimo Vignelli, a designer who only uses Helvetica, Futura, Garamond No. 3, Century Expanded, and Bodoni. After going through a crazy wild phase of type experimentation, he discovered that limiting himself to a five-typeface sobriety was the way to go. And he describes 13 reasons why people choose a certain typeface. My favorites were number 12—Because you believe in the typeface, and number 1—because it works. I think number 1 is pretty self explanatory, however, number 12, and the idea that you believe a typeface so much (or you are a type fundamentalist enough) that you only choose one to use. I think it's an interesting concept.

Adrian Shaughnessy's paradoxes were really great elements of advice, I especially agree with number 5—for designers, verbal skills are as important as visual skills and number 8—the paradox of "all the good jobs go to other designers." I thought number 8 was interesting way to think because honestly, there is no such thing in good or bad projects in design, only good or bad responses. And honestly, I take Shaughnessy's statement to include not only good and bad responses in the form of a physical project outcome, but also just attitude. I think that with a better attitude, bad projects can become good responses. Also, I really think that the ability to sell yourself, not only your project or idea, and the ability to communication successfully and with confidence and clarity is a vital skill for all designers. In a field where we have to communicate visually, shouldn't our ability to shock our audience with the sight of a well-designed project be coupled with our ability to shock our clients with our ability to speak thoughtfully?

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