July 12, 2018

As a writer, I have a tendency to become involved in the graphic design process just peripherally, but I manage to learn useful lessons from it. Among the very insightful design lessons came from somebody who knew absolutely nothing about typography and colour theory.
I’m fascinated by the process of logo design - not the amateurish effort of slapping clip art together, but also the thinking and execution a professional brings to capturing the vision of a business in a superbly simple artwork element. I have observed the process many times and noticed designers get many fascinating requests from their clients.
The most memorable came in the director of a company that manufactured tow trucks. As the designer began to describe the logo creation process and produce a sense of the company’s expectations, the rough-edged boss waved his hands to stop him in mid-sentence. Then he spoke.

Folksy? Perhaps. Crude? Definitely. But noise? Absolutely. He knew that it was critical that additional tow-truck operators understood that they made that truck that was handsome. It is an industry where look is every bit as important as function, along with his competitors would add any touch that may give them an edge. Fashion versions would have been overlooked one of the polished chrome.)
It is all too easy for those folks who work in the services business to eliminate sight of this fact that our work exists primarily to create business for our customers. After all, we take great pride in combining our talents and what we’ve learned to come up with work that makes us joyful and our peers. Most advertising and graphic design award reveals encourage that attention by rewarding fashion, instead of substance.
We sometimes forget that logos, headlines, along with other elements of marketing communications need to be seen to work. It is great if we can accomplish that and also make them visually appealing at the same moment. However, the most stunningly beautiful layout will fall flat if people can’t tell exactly what it is or who it’s supposed to spot, and the most award-winning ad concept is going to be a humiliating failure if it fails to drive sales or meet the client’s other expectations.
The best customers for whom I’ve worked have given me a lot of freedom and trusted that my recommendations were sensible and sound. However, with Graphic Designers and trust arrived an understanding that I would be held accountable for outcomes, also.