Why I Design


Let me set the record straight here – I am NOT a writer.  Oh sure, I occasionally hammer on the keyboard in order to convey a message to a friend or client via email or Facebook.  But I have zero aspirations to be a writer.  None.  That said, I thought it would be helpful to write an article on why I design.


I learned a beautiful (and succinct) definition of graphic design in grad school…

Graphic Design –  Effectively communicating a message to an intended audience through visual media

Very simple.  Three parts.

1. Communicating a message (effectively).
2. To an audience.
3. Through visual media.

You can’t have graphic design without all three.  I mean, I suppose technically you could communicate a message through visual media, such as creating a brochure and leave it in the woods of Alaska for no one to read ever.  And technically, that would probably qualify.  But what’s the point?  You may as well be an artist and leave the finished paintings in your garage.  That’s why I’m so interested in the audience part.  The receivers of the message are key.

So why?  What exactly are we trying to “convey” or communicate with design?  Well, it can be to inform, to educate, entertain (in some cases) or to get people to take an action.  It can be a street sign (yes, a yellow yield sign totally counts), a band poster or a full website.  The amount of words in order to convey that message does not matter.  And I believe that typically, the fewer words, the better.  (Which is why this semi-lenghty article is an anomaly for me.)  This will probably be the most words you ever see from me (unless I become wildly famous and write an autobiography of course).

You see, conveying that people need to veer right while driving is just as important as explaining the details of the features of a new refrigerator.  And I love the challenge of conveying those messages with as few words as possible.  This is where the visual media comes in.  Images almost always say more than words.  But the combination of the two is magic.

The reason I design is because I dislike writing but I still want to convey to people how they can help their community.  Or to remind them about an organization or small business. Or show them how amazing the world can be if they open their eyes.  (And yes, occasionally that this widget is on sale.)  But most importantly to inspire people to see what is going on in the world around them.  Because it will make you appreciate life to the fullest. And it will make you optimistic about the future.  And hopefully to get you to take an action because of it.


Contact me if you have an idea or project you want to discuss.

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