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Elementary design

Boy with Bullhorn

We’re surrounded by imagery. Advertising is everywhere, whether its in print or digital form. We’re under constant bombardment from traditional broadcasting, down the phone line or fibre-optic cable or via our wi-fi connections. There’s just no stopping the flood.

Not only are there more images around than ever before, but we’ve also got more ways than ever to absorb them: TVs, tablets, smartphones and even the venerable PC. And yes, I’ve heard you can still go down to your local news-stand and pick up a printed magazine. Nowadays there’s no excuse for failing to have a viewing device with you at all times. The only time you get to switch off is when you close your eyes and go to sleep. But Google are probably working on that.

Add to that the frankly mind-boggling range of resources available to the modern graphic designer. Like all studios, we have a bunch of favourite websites we visit regularly to get our creative juices flowing. Here’s a small sample:

You’d think all this complexity means the process of design is becoming more complicated too. To some degree that’s true. It’s no longer good enough to design something beautiful that works only on an A4 page and maybe, if you really push the boat out, a 48-sheet billboard. You have to think multimedia. How good does this logo look when it’s reduced to a quart of pixels crammed into the pint-pot of a web banner? Can you keep your typestyles consistent across multiple platforms and operating systems? How will those devilishly intricate graphics look when they’re projected on to the side of a skyscraper for that all-important PR stunt?

Fair enough. But this means it’s more vital than ever that designers don’t confuse the medium with the message. Despite the ever-expanding variety of media available, the fundamental objective of all graphic communication is, well, to communicate. Good design means delivering a clear message with maximum impact. In that respect, the whole business of advertising and promotion hasn’t changed one bit.

In fact, the torrent of visuals we’re now subjected to makes it even more important to send out the clearest possible signal. How else are you going to cut through all the noise?

So how do you do that? The same way as always: tell a strong story backed up by unforgettable images and supported by an irresistible call to action.

Elementary.