What we enjoyed reading this week

What we enjoyed reading this week

Typeface choices, the broad chasm between an honestly great design, and sarcasm

  • Nobody can tell you what a good typographic choice would be.
    They could, but they’d be relying on their judgement, and you would learn nothing of how to DIY from it. Choosing typefaces is like choosing an outfit of the day — it depends on comfort, context and majorly on how you want people to feel when they look at it. Of course you could let a stylist put together an outfit for you, but where’s the you-niqueness in that?! So go with your gut, even if it means using Comic Sans in a design.
    Hahaha No.
  • Learn to trust your decisions, and learn from them.
    When designers make typeface decisions, nobody’s a 100% sure, I can attest to that. There’s a lot of R&D involved, and there is a lot of advice available on the subject, some of it is gold, and some of it is, well, old. So we make typeface decisions based on the amount of knowledge we have at the time, align it with the intended emotional response, go ahead with it, and hope for the best. We’re not always spot on though, considering there are still people who think that Comic Sans is a great typeface, but then we learn from our mistakes and if a typographical palette works, we stick with it, if it doesn’t work, then we try new things.
  • There are no fixed rules
    Okay yes there is one, Trial and Error is the way to go. There are plenty of guidelines though, lots to refer to when you’re in a soup, but at the end of the day, that’s all that they are, guidelines. You need to work your way through it, and just when you think you’ve got the typeface on lock, there’s leading, kerning and tracking to take care of. #goodtimes

Boring Designer v/s Radical Minded Genius — the two extremes of the design community

  • Who the hell is a “boring designer”? (some of us)
    Statutory warning: Fragile egos of many a designer may be wounded, read with caution. Boring designers are masters at imitation, they’re so good, they’ll leave no trace of themselves in the replicated design. Boring designers are also the most time efficient among us designers because most of their work is already done by person they’re “inspired” by. This in turn makes them open to new ideas without becoming emotionally invested in a design for whatever reason.They’re all about the UX and their philosophy is probably something along the lines of “why try to recreate when you can replicate?”
  • And who is a “radical minded genius”? (not a lot of us)
    Statutory warning: Fragile egos of many a designer may be wounded, read with caution. Radical minded geniuses, on the other hand, will strive for uniqueness in every elemental structure, and try to pack as much of their eccentricity in the design as they possibly can. They will also spend a lot of time trying to get the design “just right”. They may additionally pout like babies, passive aggressively reject suggestions for change and curse under their breaths, or loudly, depending on how emotionally invested they are in the design. They’re all about breaking conventional rules of design.
  • So what about the rest of us? (We’re boring but with style.)
    No one likes to be categorized as everyone one else. I get it. But this is what the truth about the rest of us, is. We try to maintain a balance. We get things done on time and in style. We’re not too radical, or too boring when it comes to solving problems through design, we’re just trying to differentiate between a popular solution, and the best solution for our specific design (if you can’t tell the difference between the two, you need to spend more time thinking about what your design is trying to achieve). We’re just trying to add a little bit of ourselves to our designs, where we can, in whatever little capacity we can. Our style is essentially maintaining a kind of consistency which spans across all our work, and is just something we tend to “default to”. The good news about that is, that we get the best of both worlds.

Love to think, but please don’t make me exercise my brain.

  • Design in a manner that the users don’t have to think too much, but don’t provide everything on a silver platter
    Our designs need to be intuitive, they need to be self explanatory, and be able to give the users what they want before they have to ask for it.” — Every Mentor Ever. Now this is good advice but it personally irritates me because: on the one hand we perpetuate a culture that creates a mentally lazy audience because we’re doing their share of thinking when we design, “so that they don’t have to when they look at it”, and on the other hand, we struggle with exactly that — how much information is truly useful? will they even read this? why is there so much copy? Basically, we just land ourselves on a one way trip to instant regret, a massive headache, incessant cursing, and rethinking our career choices. #perksofthejob
  • Thinking: a requirement v/s encouragement
    When we force users to think about how to interact with our design, by deliberately being obtuse and hiding key information in strange menus and folds in the name of minimalism, we’re basically putting them off before they’ve had a chance to form a decent opinion about our work. Guess who benefits from that? Nobody, or maybe our competitors, and I can’t exactly say, which is worse. But when we provide just enough information for them to see, and create interaction opportunities should they want to actually “see more >”, we’re allowing them to take their time with the design and content, and form a reasonably good or neutral opinion about our work, which can work out well for us, because at least people aren’t put off by our design and that’s a great start, considering people don’t like staying on web pages unless they’re of some kind of interest.
  • Who to cater to? Normal people or the lazy minded?
    Both! And it’s not even that difficult a goal to achieve. The key as with everything else, is balance. We need to find a sweet spot with every design that we make, where we provide just enough information to satiate the lazy minded and just enough to pique the curiosity of the thinkers. Kinda like a smallish serving of a desert, those who are fond of sweets will be content with that portion, but the ones with a giant sweet tooth, they’ll keep coming back for more, and when has that ever been a bad thing?