What Does My Design Communicate?

Bad communication is a problem that we experience every day. Design plays an important role in communication and should be congruent.

Portrait of Jorge Del Toro Jorge Del Toro Haifa

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We are invaded by design everywhere. But, when does it communicate effectively? As designers, most of us have made sure to create designs that make a visual impact, but many times they do not work. For a design to really work it is necessary to consider some aspects of communication, particularly the emitter, who in this case is the one that will make something that reaches the receptor, who is the one that will receive and interpret the message. Thus, what unites the emitter with the receptor is the message, which will need to be prepared so that the receptor can receive it in the way it was conceived by the emitter, and which will at times be in the hands of a creative department or a designer. They will seek to code the message in a way that will make it more attractive visually. Visual communication is the natural sense of design, it is the graphic expression of a message that intends to become a language, which in its most simple form will attempt to grab attention in an environment saturated by information.

For several reasons, during this process a problem with communication arises:

  1. Time: The urgency of completing a design that a client demands to communicate a need and the imposition of the design without consideration of what is necessary for an effective communication.

  2. Repetition: The same exhibition of a design in an environment visually over-saturated lacking the importance of what our eyes see, considering that in a few minutes our eyesight can see hundreds and even thousands of images in a short period, emit a conclusion, and finally miss our message.

Designs generally have each designer’s own particular sense. But at times we forget who sees, reads, and is hooked by our designs. The target is important so that the receptor can accept the message through visual communication, but occasionally the emitter forgets that his or her criteria are not all that is important, but he or she should seek the point of view of the public.

How does the public think? What does it expect? On more than one occasion we have tried to impose our design above what the public seeks to face in a product. Understanding this, it is important to consider two important factors. The first is the need of the client that contracts the designer (or design studio). This at times can be complicated story. To begin, the client seeks a factor of personal satisfaction; in other words, if he or she does not like the design, then it is not right. This is even more complicated because the designer (who should have a vision of the market) seeks to give the client/receptor what he or she expects to see.

This is where the second important factor arises: For whom am I designing? Is for the one that pays or for the market? The public is who should be seduced to purchase by the product. For this reason, basic communication factors should remain above the taste of the hiring client. The design professional’s recommendation should be present always. We must have the capacity to defend our design and persuade the customer that the final design is what he or she needs to communicate. Here is where we must exercise care, because at times we seem to impose a design on the client even when it does not meet its goal. It is not about imposing a design but rather to help communicate the need of our client.

In conclusion, it is worthwhile to understand if our design truly fulfills its purpose of communicating what the client needs, or if it is simply an imposition of our own taste. On the other hand, let us not allow the client to change, transform, modify, alter, or deform our work just to satisfy his or her whelm. We must be congruent. Our design should fulfill its main objective, which is to communicate what the client needs to communicate.

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Jorge Del Toro

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Portrait of Alejandro De Althaus
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Alejandro De Althaus
Dec 2013

El hecho de que estamos invadidos por diseño, es verdad. Y estoy de acuerdo con el Sr. Jorge del Toro, autor de este articulo, cuando menciona que el diseño no siempre comunica de manera efectiva. Creo que para crear un diseño que comunique de manera apropiada hay que tener conocimientos previos, investigar el grupo objetivo y al mismo tiempo hacer uso de los referentes para tener una directriz.

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