by Sue Dawson
IT’S TIME TO DESIGN my new easel sign for outside the gallery. We’re producing Alison’s latest photographs, and will be hanging them this Friday for our new show, and this Saturday’s Arts District Stroll (from 4 to 7 – hope to see you there). We got so many great suggestions and comments for my last blog post, that I decided to mock up most of them, and ask for your votes. If you haven’t read my last blog entry, please do, so you understand why I’m doing this! Our programmer, Heather, found these dandy little thumbs up/down thingies that make it easy to vote, and keep track of what you think. Today was the fun part – doing all the suggested designs and word combos. As I said in my last post, I like trying everything, even if I think I won’t like it. I’m always interested to see how suggestions look, and sometimes I’m surprised by my reactions to them. Design is a process.
One thing I’m realizing is that the inside joke (“New Work” looks like “New York”) is funny, if you get it. But designs based on the joke might be confusing for customers who weren’t in on this conversation. Again, read my last blog if you haven’t, so you get what this is about. I’ve always thought that if someone thinks “why?” when they see a design, as in “why’d they do that?” or “what does that mean?”, it’s not good design. At the Globe, you’d know there was an unnecessary or superfluous thing on your design, for example, if another designer came over and used their finger to “flick” the thing off the page, as if to say “get this off of here, it doesn’t work.” The goal is simplicity and clarity. It should be “yeah, of course – that’s obvious.” It can be deceptively hard to achieve that. This is why major redesigns of publications and websites often include research via focus groups, followed by updates based on the user feedback. We designers lose our ability to be objective, because we’re too close. We can’t replicate a fresh look at something we’ve been looking at for awhile. So that’s when it gets fascinating – seeing how our best efforts pan out when the public responds to them.
So here goes! Please click thumbs up or down under the examples. [Update: my cute little thumb icons aren’t supported anymore. Bummer…] No matter how it works out, every one of our reader’s suggestions is worth trying, and is much appreciated! I tossed a few of my own in here (including the last one, harhar), but most of them are from you. Can’t wait to see what you think…