Design Relativity… Some Thoughts.

2015-03-07 18:06:00 +0000 —

Most graphic design solutions are relative: Ten graphic designers given the same request will come up with ten different solutions. Some might be “better” than others, but if the designers are sufficiently skilled, they will all be workable, usable solutions. Let’s presume this is a logo for something — maybe a bakery — each designer is likely to pick a different typeface or a different play on a loaf of bread or oven or wheat stalk to use. There isn’t a “right” answer. I find something frustrating about this.

This makes me feel like what I do is magical, yet meaningless. It’s all relative — a different point of view yields a different outcome, yet we have no “speed of light” against which to measure or compare aesthetics.

What I see in my mind when I hear a client say they want “simple and professional” solutions is likely to be different than that of another designer. On the one hand this is great — freedom and individuality really can reign. On another, it proves that most of the job of a designer is subjective and meaningless. Style is an irrelevant concern. If ten different people can come to ten different aesthetic conclusions for a single “problem” that doesn’t seem to me to say “there is definitive evidence that this solution matters…”

I might pick one typeface, my friend Tony another, my friend Kim another, and my friend Amanda yet another. Any of the four could be made into a more than acceptable, simple, professional solution.

This begins to seem to me arbitrary decision. Another 100 typefaces or symbols can be seemingly randomly chosen and still made to work. How does this show that what I do actually matters?

When all choices are arbitrary, then how do you make a choice?