Part of my Knowledge Repository.


Notes

Three Design Aspects:

  1. Semantic
  2. Syntactic
  3. Pragmatic

Semantics

  • The very first thing that I do whenever I start a new assignment in any form of design, graphic, product, exhibition or interior is to search for the meaning of it
  • Semantics will also indicate the most appropriate form for that particular subject that we can interpret or transform according to our intentions.
  • It is important to distill the essence of the semantic search through a complex process, most of which is intuitive, to infuse the design with all the required cognitive inputs, effortlessly and in the most natural way possible
  • We design things which we think are semantically correct and syntactically consistent but if, at the point of fruition, no one understands the result, or the meaning of all that effort, the entire work is useless
    • Sometimes it may need some explanation but it is better when not necessary. Any artifact should stand by itself in all its clarity.
  • The final look of anything is the by-product of the clarity (or lack of it) during its design phase. It is important to understand the starting point and all assumptions of any project to fully comprehend the final result and measure its efficiency. Clarity of intent will translate in to clarity of result and that is of paramount importance in Design.
  • Confused, complicated designs reveal an equally confused and complicated mind. We love complexities but hate complications!

Quality and Discipline

  • The attention to details requires discipline. There is no room for sloppiness, for carelessness, for procrastination. Every detail is important because the end result is the sum of all the details involved in the creative process no matter what we are doing.
  • There are no hierarchies when it comes to quality. Quality is there or is not there, and if is not there we have lost our time.
  • It is a commitment and a continuously painstaking effort of the creative process to which we should abide. That is Discipline and without it there is no good design, regardless of its style.
  • Discipline is a set of self imposed rules, parameters within which we operate. It is a bag of tools that allows us to design in a consistent manner from beginning to end. Discipline is also an attitude that provides us with the capacity of controlling our creative work so that it has continuity of intent throughout rather than fragmentation.
  • Design without discipline is anarchy, an exercise of irresponsibility

Visual Power

  • We say all the time that we like Design to be visually powerful. We cannot stand Design that is weak in concept, form, color, texture or any or all of them. We think good Design is always an expression of creative strength bringing forward clear concepts expressed in beautiful form and color, where every element expresses the content in the most forceful way.
  • There are infinite possibilities to achieve a powerful expression. In graphic design, for instance, difference of scale within the same page can give a very strong impact. Bold type contrasting with light type creates visually dynamic impressions.
  • It is essential that a design is imbued with visual strength and unique presence to achieve its purpose.
  • Visual strength can be achieved also by using delicate layouts or materials.
  • Visual strength is an expression of intellectual elegance and should never be confused with just visual impact - which, most of the time, is just an expression of visual vulgarity and obtrusiveness.
  • Visual power is, in any event, a subject which deserves great attention to achieve effective design.

Timelessness

  • We are for a Design that lasts, that responds to people’s needs and to people’s wants.
  • We like the use of primary shapes and primary colors because their formal values are timeless.
  • We like a typography that transcends subjectivity and searches for objective values, a typography that is beyond times - that doesn’t follow trends, that reflects its content in an appropriate manner.
  • We like economy of design because it avoids wasteful exercises, it respects investment and lasts longer.
  • We strive for a Design that is centered on the message rather than visual titillation.
  • We like Design that is clear, simple and enduring.

Typography

  • Garamond
  • Bodoni
  • Century Expanded
  • Futura
  • Times Roman
  • Helvetica

Text Alignment

  • Most of the time we use flush left. This type of alignment derives from metal composition, particularly in Linotype.
  • Formerly it was faster to keep the alignment on the left side rather then having to kern the slug for every line. It also makes more sense since in our culture we read from left to right and it is better for the eye to go to the next line than having to cope with hyphens all the time
  • We use centered for lapidary text, invitations, or any rhetorical composition where it may be more appropriate, or for the address at the bottom of a letterhead, and for business cards.
  • Justified is used more for text books, but it is not one of our favorites because it is fundamentally contrived.