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These articles should be mandatory...


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Two fantastic reads for designers and people who simply enjoy sharing opinons on design. Read these, take them in and apply the lessons in them to your daily interactions with design (not only on these boards but in the real world as well). They really are the published words to support the cause I've been championing here for the past few years; to increase the level of quality in the way this community as a whole views, evaluates and talks about design and its practitioners.

The articles cover things like looking at the whole system of an identity (including the strategy and concept behind it), considering the context in which a particular design lives, considering the whole design process from brief to unveiling instead of simply judging the outcome the outcome, dealing with 'angry mobs' and people who love to hate, delivering informed criticism rather than reactionary criticism. As a bonus, both articles are full of great quotes to respond to the 'it sucks' and the 'my child could have done this' style of critique.



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i was about to post the article from Bierut (design observer) here, i read it a couple of days ago and as well written as it is, the comments section is even better. look at the names in there; Debbie Milman, Mat Dolphin, Paula Scher, Alissa Walker, Rick Poyner, Armin Vit. it's as good as any design conference you'll ever go to. i have yet to go through the AIGA article but will do so today.

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just finished the one from AIGA and its just as good as the one from Bierut, but one thing i'm getting from it is "its okay to critique a logo as long as you know the whole brief, direction/mission, and don't make the designer look bad". i once read a description of talent as "the ability to take a preconceived idea, turn it into something tangible, and communicate its message/idea clearly without any explanation from the creator". and i completely agree with that.

Paula Scher was quoted "No designer on the outside of the organization at hand is really qualified to render an informed opinion about a massive identity system until it’s been around and in practice for about a year,” she explained. “One has to observe it functioning in every form of media to determine the entire effect. This [was] especially true in the UC case.” I agree with Paula here on success of an identity system, but even poorly designed ones can still be successful. the thing is, logos don't come with briefs and bullet points about the designer's thought behind the design. they exist on their own (or within an entire identity; type, color, photography, texture, etc) and their purpose is to identify something, and communicate a message about it. it's hard to judge a whole identity fairly without doing what Paula said, but not with a logo. thats the gateway to the brand. thats the flag on the mast. a first impression. it's something that the audience should be proud of. and of course the technical execution is easy to see.

i never liked this new seal or logo from UC. i think the description of "it looks like a flushing toilet" is actually pretty spot on and when you have a negative connotation that clear, your design isnt going to work. Michael Bierut was right, most people want to fit in. they want something that represents a certain culture, personality, and history that is defined over 100s of years (talking about college identities). without going on about the logo/identity itself (i could do multiple paragraphs) i just don't think they chose the right direction for the identity, even if it were executed well and didnt look like a toilet. i wouldnt want that new seal or logo to be on a sweatshirt either representing a college because nothing about it feels/looks like it's appropriate for a school like UC.

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