The language of design

In a written language, letters join together to form words. These words connect to become sentences, which flow into paragraphs, pages, chapters and eventually, an entire narrative. It’s easy to see the parallels with design, where colours, shapes, concepts and scenes also come together to tell their own story.

So how can you ensure that your design tells the right story, engages with the right audiences and leaves the reader with the right message and moral at the end of the tale?

Follow the rules Any student of language will tell you that one of the most complex aspects to get right is the rules surrounding grammar,

Any student of language will tell you that one of the most complex aspects to get right is the rules surrounding grammar, punctuation and spelling. Get these fundamentals wrong and the message becomes obscured. It is far more pleasant to read a properly constructed sentence that tells you exactly what you need to know without the need for expert interpretation or a damn fine proof-reader. The same is true of good design. Knowing the colours that go well together, the fonts that work best for your industry and the shapes and concepts that complement each other rather than clash will help your finished design look professional and properly put-together.

Create your own style

When you pick up a science textbook, you know exactly what the kind of language will be when you start to read it. Likewise, a romantic novel with a winsome couple on the front cover will, more than likely, remain consistent in its style from the couple’s first meeting to their inevitable wedding. While a curve ball thrown into the middle of the story can offer shock value, it is more likely to make the reader feel uncomfortable that the expected style has been abruptly altered and the story interrupted. So be bold in your design choices by all means, but once you have agreed them and seen that they are working well for you, take proud ownership of your style, make it your own and try to resist the temptation to shock your audiences too often.

Be consistent

Consistency is often underrated, however when a client comes to trust in your services and knows that you will always deliver top quality service, it can become your greatest asset. It’s the same with the spoken language. When you settle down to listen to someone speak whom you know from experience is a talented, engaging orator, you will relax into his or her speech more easily and take in what is being said. So, reassure your audiences that you are committed to your vision and values by presenting them clearly and consistently in all your visual communications and design. Embrace innovation William Caxton

Embrace innovation

William Caxton revolutionised the written language when he invented the printing press in 1476 and opened up access to reading to the masses. The arrival of the internet pushed the written word even further, allowing it to be instantaneously transmitted around the world. Innovations like these constantly shape our language and the way our words are communicated. The same can be said of design –concepts, perceptions and technology are evolving at a startling rate. Don’t be afraid to embrace these changes and use them to strengthen and refresh your design portfolio. You may feel inspired to invent new ideas that have never been thought of before and there is nothing wrong with that. Shakespeare invented words all the time and who are we to argue with the Bard? For more tips and advice on the language of design, or to chat through your own design project, please contact Detail Design Consultants today.