Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Less is More

One of the many hats I wear has been graphic design. This stems right back to secondary school when my art teachers were artists, and instilled a great love of design in those of us who stuck the course for five years (as I did).

My father always sketched, as do both my brother and my sister. My aunt was an art teacher, and my uncle is a cartoonist. My chosen medium, though, has been the PC.

When I worked for a corporate, I was lucky enough to work on marketing projects. I got handed lots of things to organise or co-ordinate, such as setting up and organising a photo archive, working on a corporate rebranding project with the rebranding lead, creating product fliers to suit a range of markets, organising photo shoots, and working on a corporate magazine. I got to liaise with designers, printers and manufacturers who all taught me a lot. That led into a fascination with in-house and external communications, and that decade taught me a lot about the whys, wherefores and what not tos of design.

Although I have done a reasonable amount of design work, I don't regard myself as a designer. What I have learned is that there are professionals in every field, and the wise amongst us consult with those professionals who will give us an edge. I can cobble up a concept, but then I need someone with expertise to translate that into smooth and sophisticated reality. 

There are two things that I think organisations often don't do so well with graphic design. One is brand consistency, and the other is poster design. By brand consistency, I mean that each time you see an internal or external communication, you cannot necessarily tell that it comes from that particular company. Each piece of communication should be carefully designed to build the brand, not to erode it. Every piece needs to tell the brand story, or it is a lost opportunity. This is a relatively easy concept to get across to a client: it can be clearly illustrated by showing them their own brand audit materials and compare those materials with another company's well-thought out brand manual.

Posters tend to cause a slightly different problem with clients. Because posters use mostly visuals to tell a story, it is what we take away that is important. Less is more with a poster. But clients often want to pack more in, and to over-share. They also often forget brand consistency with a poster, and tend to flit around all over the place. I often have to remind the client that the viewer still needs to be able to see immediately that the poster comes from their company.

What I need then is to be able to show the client some good, minimalist design. While I have used a lot of other resources in the past, now I tend to use this page from Canva to do that (here). This page contains some glorious poster art, and I think, shows us just how much we can take away, without loosing the message.

Less is more.


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