Moving around the space between the words

Graphic design is a strange profession.

I spend a lot of my days pushing text and images around a screen. Design is a gigantic puzzle with no correct answers, but many obvious wrong ones. Also, some people will think you’re wrong when you’re right and others will think you’re right when you’re wrong. Some people just don’t like the colour pink, or love asking you to make their logo bigger.

As I said, it’s a strange profession.

Most of the time my goal with a design is to help you.

When I’m moving around the space between the words and the images I’m making it as easy as possible for you to read. I’m directing you towards the most important parts of the design. I want you to be able to parse the information as quickly as possible, and get back on with your day. I’m trying to remove your need to figure it out, and just make it work.

My best design work is so good at doing its job that you’ll never even realise that anybody designed it—and that is entirely the intention. Good design is invisible, as the saying goes.

Like a ghost writer, being a designer is often a thankless, nameless and faceless task.

But design is also a game of contradictions. Sometimes I want to hit you in the face with my design. Sometimes I’ll make something difficult to read or hard to understand on purpose. Sometimes I want you to know I’ve designed it. This is the kind of design work that ends up in my portfolio.

Frank Chimero said:

“Good design is all about making other designers feel like idiots because that idea wasn’t theirs.”

Design is also about looking at the bigger picture. I’m translating a organisation’s feelings, values and brand into a visual thing whilst also making sure you understand everything that’s going on. I’m balancing lots of things: art, craft, business, detail, psychology, marketing, composition, ideas, design—and stirring them all together to come up with something that makes sense.

“Design is in everything we make, but it’s also between those things. It’s a mix of craft, science, storytelling, propaganda, and philosophy.”
— Erik Adigard, designer and media artist

Yeah. Graphic design is a strange profession.