As always, over the past couple of months I have visited some of the graphic and industrial design traps on the internet, particular traps to include starting designers looking for critique on their work, or those who have finally completed their first new and exciting design.
I confess I too am in the same boat with regard to graphic design, so I am not in any way trying to belittle those amongst me, but there have been a number of times where a new design has simply failed to demonstrate a solution to a problem. It seems that some times a design has been developed solely for the reason that the designer wanted to do it. Fair enough of course if someone wants to develop their skills in software or idea development or whatnot, but one of the keys of a good design is solving an existing issue, and to not take that into account can be detrimental to a designer’s development.
Designs should be developed for a reason, and these reasons are usually issues. For example, an issue might be that a train might not be able to seat/withhold as many people as the particular train might for a particular rail system in a particular city – that is to say that the internal layout of seats and standing areas is inefficient for the expected patronage. A new design will try to alleviate the issue through development of a different layout and, if successful, the issue is resolved.
Now, the idea of redesigning something to solve issues with the original design is, well, quite obvious. Redesigning for no net gain is a waste of time and money. Inherently, a design really only starts when an issue is discovered, but there is a real danger, especially for developing designers who are building their portfolio and their skills, of choosing to redesign something for the sake of redesigning it. This means that you only make decisions based on what you want, and not what is in the best interests of the design. Design is all about communication and communicating ideas and emotions effectively, and redesigning without true purpose can make the final product fall flat.
This philosophy can be applied to all types of design. Always design for a purpose and identify problems that can be solved through design.
This, oddly, ties in nicely with one of my ongoing projects!
I decided late one night while dozing off for the night that I would design a racing circuit. What attracted me to the idea was not only my attraction to motorsport, but the totality of the project. The project would include course design, building design, layout design, and would extend to the circuit logo and promotional design. But my issue was, why? What purpose was there for a new circuit?
I then thought about it for a bit before identifying that there is a potential existing problem: The Australian Formula 1 GP is currently held on a temporary street circuit at Albert Park, which causes a large amount of disruption for the city and surrounding suburbs. The location is phenomenal, but there are detrimental factors involved with holding the event at Albert Park that make developing a permanent racing facility a real alternative.
The project will also involve planning, in that a location will be decided based on things such as distance to population areas, ease of access and potential population growth. Watch this space!
WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING?
I have been trying to sort out a number of opportunities, and am currently sitting on (and waiting) on a big opportunity later on in the year, but I have started a smaller opportunity in-game design for a small project which will keep me busy.
As I mentioned above, the race circuit design is something that I will try to do in any time I get. I am also getting back into the Pixel Art scene, starting with redeveloping the isometric F1 car I developed years ago:
I am developing the design from the ground up, and have developed this so far:
I also developed a DESIGN BOOK for the StylePixelStudios brand, which can be found here: http://www.behance.net/gallery/Stylepixelstudios-DesignBook/8488429
A preview of what you might see:
The DESIGNBOOK aims to define the style of StyePixelStudios when it is used in all forms on all media. It covers font choice, logo imagemark construction, and the development of the identity. It also includes conceptual designs for iPad and iPhone splash pages and stationary designs.
Finally, I recieved in my design inventory 2 very good design tools and resources.
The first is a logo reference book, called logolounge MASTERlibrary compiled by Catherine Fishel and Bill Gardner, is filled with sorted logos from all over the world which slowly transition from theme to theme. The logos are from all over the world and included are the company names as well as the design agency involved in the development of the logo.
The other resource is The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design, which includes a whipping 500 significant Graphic Design works from history, ranging from significant logo designs to magazine and packaging design.
Each (high quality) card has a main image on one side, with details and further related images on the other side. There is a short blurb detailing the significance and history of the designer or designer, which is incredibly insightful. The whole archive is an incredible insight to the history of design, and how it has influenced designers and the way their designs have influenced others. It is also an incredible reference for graphic design in general – a great find!