A “graphic Houdini”

The combined role of programmatic restrictions and creativity in the accomplishment of message effectiveness.

Norberto Chaves Barcelona
Followers:
2976
Comments:
0
Votes:
5
Compartir:
P. Does design creation allows restrictions?
R. Design depends greatly in restrictions.
P. What restrictions?
R. The sum of all restrictions. Here lies one of the few effective keys of design problems: the designer's ability to recognize the largest amount of restrictions he can, his will and enthusiasm to work within such restrictions —price restrictions, size, balance, surface, time, etc.—; each problem has its own, peculiar list.

These are two of the answers Charles Eames gave in an interview in 1972, published under the title What is design? With them, Eames creates a simple definition of design's “heteronomy”; this is, its lack of autonomy regarding the need its supposed to satisfy. Such definition implies that the final result's quality depends on the “amount of restrictions” that have been considered. The group of these conditions is what we know as “design program”: the list of requirements the designed piece must meet..

Design's conditioned character isn't antagonist to creativity; on the contrary, creativity is the ability to surpass challenges and overcome limitations. Creativity isn't a mere “added value” to the product, let alone a way of self-expression of the “creative”, but a demand of the problem to solve: the resource to get to the solution.

Let's hear another master, Gerard Unger:

“I am more creative when I have limitations. When I am inhibited and restricted, then I am truly creative […] I am some sort of “graphic Houdini”: to find myself in a desperate situation and emerge triumphant.”

Which are those limitations in the case of graphic design? What is its “program”? Eames gives us this answer: “each problem has its peculiar list.” And the “problem” in graphic design is to achieve an optimum communication between the sender and the receiver of the message. Graphic syntax, reading levels, style (typographical, chromatic, iconic, compositive), must respond faithfully to the demands of the communicational fact being created.

The message isn't an autonomous object, but a rendezvous point of an endless group of contextual conditions: the speakers' identity, registry or rhetoric of their dialog, environment and reading conditions, message theme, your own “tone”, etc., etc. The message is the trigger of an exceeding happening: it appears in context of some background and generates some consequences.

The “perfect message” is child of such conditions, and “invisible” creators of a new circumstance that constitutes its goal. The message, the signifier piece, must achieve creating a new consciousness, and in order to do so, be forgotten.

No graphic piece possesses an intrinsic “must-be”, because the very concept of message is relational and contextual: it is created from the outside. Thus, no design decision must be taken early; they must respond to a requirement of effectiveness: “design depends greatly on restrictions […] and every problem has its own, peculiar list.”

It should be obvious... but it is not that obvious.

Editor: Joel Alejandro Villarreal Bertoldi Córdoba
Followers:
2976
Comments:
0
Votes:
5
Compartir:

0 Comments

See comments

This article does not express the opinion of the editors and managers of FOROALFA, who assume no responsibility for its authorship and nature. To republish, except as specifically indicated, please request permission to author. Given the gratuity of this site and the hyper textual condition of the Web, we will be grateful if you avoid reproducing this article on other websites. Published on 01/10/2015.

Norberto Chaves

More articles by Norberto Chaves in English

Title:

Every trademark must be...

Synopsis:

Twelve supposedly «universal» rules in designing trademarks.

Share:
Title:

Don't Mess with My Design!

Synopsis:

The interprofessional critique taboo: insecurity, paranoia and corporatism refuge.

Share:
Title:

Verbal/Non Verbal as an Identifying Polarity

Synopsis:

The typological role in identity reference.

Share:
Title:

With or Without a Symbol

Synopsis:

An alternative trademark constrained by profile and communication.

Share:

You may be interested

Alfredo Mambié
Idioma:
ES
Author:

Alfredo Mambié

Title:

El futuro del libro digital y sus aplicaciones actuales

Share:
Interactions:
Votes:
11
Comments:
7
Followers:
0
Carlos Sánchez
Idioma:
ES
Author:

Carlos Sánchez

Title:

7 reglas para seducir clientes

Share:
Interactions:
Votes:
63
Comments:
29
Followers:
34
Luciano Cassisi
Idioma:
ES
Author:

Luciano Cassisi

Title:

Yahoo: hágalo usted mismo

Translations:
Share:
Interactions:
Votes:
122
Comments:
144
Followers:
1134
Luciano Cassisi
Author:

Luciano Cassisi

Title:

Graphic identity: its aims

Translations:
Share:
Interactions:
Votes:
14
Comments:
4
Followers:
1134
Alfredo Gutiérrez Borrero
Author:

Alfredo Gutiérrez Borrero

Title:

Usage and brand

Translations:
Share:
Interactions:
Votes:
1
Followers:
281
Guido Battaglia
Idioma:
ES
Author:

Guido Battaglia

Title:

La red social de las carreteras

Share:
Interactions:
Votes:
31
Comments:
9
Followers:
16
My opinion:

Login with your account to comment on this article. If you do not have it, create your free account now.

Upcoming online courses

Branding Corporativo

Branding Corporativo

Cómo se planifica, construye y gestiona la marca de empresas e instituciones

4 weeks
21 Mayo

Auditoría de Marca

Auditoría de Marca

Taller de práctica profesional: análisis, diagnóstico y programa de marca sobre casos reales

6 weeks
25 Junio

Branding: Diseñador y Cliente

Branding: Diseñador y Cliente

Tratar con el cliente, hacer presupuestos y planificar las etapas de la creación de una marca

3 weeks
6 Agosto

Estrategia de Marca

Estrategia de Marca

15 claves para programar el diseño de símbolos y logotipos de alto rendimiento

4 weeks
29 Octubre

Relecturas del Diseño

Relecturas del Diseño

Una inmersión en el discurso sobre el diseño para despejar sus nociones más controvertidas: creatividad, innovación, arte, tecnología, función social...

4 weeks
28 Enero