Apr 27, 2011

World Graphics Day... offensively!

World Graphics Day is an opportunity to recognize communication design, and its role in the world.

Designers of the world... I salute you!

Today, April 27th, marks "World Graphics Day" as per the international body of graphic design and designers worldwide. A day to seize an opportunity to pause and ponder... on different levels.

Wikipedia states: "On this occasion, designers reflect and hope that an international network can contribute to a greater understanding between people and can help to build bridges where divides and inequities exist.". Yet, being the arrogant rebellion I seem to be, and will all respect to all parties, I hereby declare an offensive stand, holding my grounds, and stand up face on, face up in confrontation with the commercially influenced crescendo design, visual and web-ic.

What the heck is happening to creativity and design ethics... at least within the realm of my surroundings and the middle east region in specific. Yeah yeah yeah, you will immediately say "it's a business world"... it is absolutely a business world, and it is absolutely a distorted perception, understanding and definition of "business", just like your perception, understanding and definition of "design".

Ready to shed blood?! I bet on every drop!!!

Soooo... I will allow myself to explain, in plain terms, to the managers, CEOs and business people of the world, the Middle East and Arab world and Lebanon in specific. I know I am cipher when it comes to the business realm, yet, when it intersects with design, being it architectural, visual and communicative, or web... Haiiiiiiiiiiii my dear reader... And forgive my naivety if is offending in any way...

I recently shared "The joy of an early release lasts but a short time. The bitterness of an unusable system lasts for years." -a user experience quote I picked up from somewhere I can't recall- and it falls within the context.

Correlating between "business" and "design", usability and user experience is the "shared ground" where both parties mostly debate/agree upon. As such, I will state:

A design, a logo, a poster, an application, an interface may cost an arm and a leg, or peanuts and will definitely fail to address your audience if your audience could not relate, use, understand or figure out. So mr./mrs. "decision maker" think a dozen time before you cut corners "believing" a "free" solution or a "2hours or 2days" shorter deadline will save you cost... it will save you cost for sure, the cost of succeeding within the bigger image and longer term.

And yes, disabled mentalities of the business realm, I assure you, disabilities should be catered for, accessibility -even if at a bare minimum- goes side by side with function and aesthetics! Or, in simple "business" terms, if your business is coffee, water, shoes, clothing, services, or anything... I assure you, individual with disabilities drink, eat, wear and use... when you discriminate, you are intentionally leaving a percentage of the market outside your profit... and if you call yourself an efficient marketer or business strategist, I beg you to think again!

So what is "Design"?!

In "design" terms, it's about creating a mood, a look and feel, triggering emotion, communicating messages with and without words, communicating the right message within the right context -or the indirect message within the proper context-; it's when form follows function, when function follows form, when form and function synergistic-ly and gracefully -or boldly- intertwine and become a statement. It's something you can only grasp by experiencing, by feeling, by connecting the dots of the psychological, artistic, visual, mental and emotional. Design is so many other things.

In "business" terms, design is:
... and again... forgive my annoyingly disturbing sarcasm...

- Coloring... Obedient designer slave says: yes, let me grab my Crayola set and give me 20 minutes or so and this website will be done!

- Skinning... Obedient designer slave says: no worries, I will just use a free template and need 20 minutes to plug and play!

- A 10 minutes job... Obedient designer slave says: I will do it in 8 minutes, we already did many templates before, I will just flip the layout, move a couple of elements around and change the background and text color.. and it will be awesome!

... shall I carry on?! ... I am sure you can spare a couple of minutes and crack your LOLs and ROFLs checking Clients from Hell.

To put things above into perspective... Yo... business people... kindly check above "Design is" definitions and keep that in mind the next time you devise a plan, a deadline or a strategy... for your own sake, and the world's, if not for design's sake. I pledge and firmly attest that when it comes to design, it's way beyond matching colors, elements and resizing photos; way beyond "how much time do you need to design this?", you may rather ask "what factors and information do you further need to translate this message perfectly?"; design is a labor of understanding, interaction, and love!

OK... so all is blah blah blah... what am I saying over here?!

"Designers of the world..." Unite, be aware, be alert, hold your ground.. it's not a business world, it's a visual interactive functional world... it's a design world... a designed business world... our role is to raise awareness, to educate, to understand and communicate.. let's communicate on all the levels.

"Business people of the world...." I need to hear from you... I would love to have a chat to you... please ping me, I wanna see your perspective, I wanna learn, I want to understand, I want ... I need... I need to know your perception, I need to learn from you, I need to understand. I need to be able to go beyond innovation and trends... I need to go beyond the limitations and illusions...

Above all -or is it really?! after all the blitz :P- happy World Graphics Day! :)


Anonymous said...

thank you... for saying what I have always wanted to say!

maher berro said...

Letter from Prince Philip on the occasion of the first Icograda General Assembly in Zurich, Switzerland (1964).