Effective or pretty?

Posted in Strategy on by David Cecil

We just passed around a great article by Mark Cook, a professor of graphic design at the University of Notre Dame, which questions what the purpose of a graphic designer should be. Here is an excerpt from the full article, which can be read here:

Historically, graphic designers have been commissioned to communicate messages in an attractive and desirable way using a combination of type and image. While this is still very much a part of what we do, the role of ”graphic designer” has become increasingly strategic, resulting in a conscious move away from anything that could be perceived as simply decorative. We have worked hard to hold a seat at the table, and fear that recognizing the persuasion of aesthetics will relegate our professional contributions to that of a technician adorning someone else’s thinking. But perhaps the pendulum has swung too far the other direction.

Our opinion?  Sorry graphic designers – you need to do both.  Great design work needs to communicate the right message to the right people in the right way, AND look great while doing it.  I think this is the point that Mark is making, and it’s a good one – you can’t discount the value of doing something that looks pretty anymore than you can discount the value of doing something that is based on sound brand strategy.