Design is subjective
…but is it really?
I often get asked how I produce creativity. Isn’t that an oxymoron?
I suppose it is in a way, but you can start with an objective base by using design guidelines as your framework and then, yes, sprinkle some personal preferences and style on top of that for the real goodness to bloom.
To give you an idea, here is a part of what my creation process looks like and how I develop designs:
When you know who or what you are designing for, it’s time to begin the qualitative research. Who is the target audience? What design elements do they respond favorably to? What shapes and colors move them? I do a lot of research before doing any hands-on creative work.
The key to the creative process is just to start. I know that’s easier said than done. But with practice, discipline and frequency, it becomes like second nature. Staring at a white screen or blank paper can be frightening. But, once you start throwing shapes, colors, textures, etc. down on your canvas, it will create the motion needed for things to start coming to life.
Aesthetics are the visual language of emotion. In other words, they will make you feel something whether you want them to or not. Design is about creating and guiding someone through an experience. i.e. You use certain elements to spark ideas, memories or emotional responses.
When you work with design, you need to have some logic and reason behind the things you do, or you might end up going back and forth for eternity on various design expressions. When I first started out, I based everything on what looked good…to me.
But I quickly learned that, that is what you do for art— not brand design.
Here are a few of the guidelines that I follow to get started on a brand design project before adding any creative toppings or flavor:
Black – Is often associated with luxury, power, elegance, formality, evil and mystery. It can also be associated with the unknown, negativity or grief because it’s literally the absence of color.
White – Represents light, goodness and innocence. It symbolizes safety, purity and cleanliness. It’s also a color that is often used for creating open space, coolness and simplicity.
Green – Is the color of nature, so it represents life, growth, fertility and freshness. It’s often associated with money. It gives us a sense of “go ahead.” (probably because of green traffic lights) AND it has healing power and promotes relaxation.
Size – Large font sizes suggest loud, while small fonts suggest a softness or whispering.
Caps – Writing in all caps can do two things: Like font size, it can also suggest intensity or loudness, but on the other hand, it can also help the content look more clean and simple because the height of the letters is uniform (rather than having a lot of shape contrast or ups and downs visually).
HINT: Do not write in all caps when the sentence is long, because it can be hard to read.
Type – There are so many different types of fonts. Each has a different style that represents different meanings or feelings…from the simplicity of a san serif font to a more personal or historical connotation with a hand-written cursive.
Round – Round shapes give a warm, soft or loving feeling.
Angles – Sharp angles can be associated with speed, harshness, directness or certainty.
Silk – A flowy silk fabric gives a feeling of elegance, femininity, lightness or luxury
Wood – Is associated with nature and often gives a sense of being real or down-to-earth
Metal – Implies a sense of strength, coolness, toughness or roughness
So yes, design is subjective…but not really. 😉
There are more guidelines and certainly different interpretations, but I hope this gave you some fun insight on how design is created.