I’ve been reading with great interest for the past few days about all the brouhaha surrounding IKEA. In case you missed it, you can read it all here. But allow me to nutshell.
IKEA, famed makers of cheap Swedish furniture change font on their catalogue from Futura to Verdana. Thousands of designers moan everywhere. IKEA basically tells them to shut the hell up and stop being such babies because most “normal” people, aka non-designers could give a rat’s butt about what font they use.
So who cares right? I’ve argued this point before – no one really cares what size your logo is, what font you use, that you are rebranding your business (did I mention I am doing that?) or that you have a brand new website.
Do you know what your donors, clients, customers care about? How are you better for me today then yesterday. How are you better, cheaper, faster, more relevant than before?
So the designers – why are “we” getting all worked up in a sweat? Because we like to think stuff like fonts matter. Futura is sleek and elegant – Verdana is 100% PC ugliness… no class, no nothing. How could a worldwide company like IKEA who obviously see the importance of clean, elegant and – sometimes cheap – design, not see why so many would be up in arms.
So – the question remains – does design matter?
I say yes, of course it does. But it only matters SO much. And it matters when it is relevant and appropriate.
Case in point. Direct Mail: Designers HATE direct mail. Especially for charities. Why? We know that more often than not, boring, white #10’s with a logo and maybe a return address work. We know that courier will still whup some serious butt when in a letter. We often know that using two colours over four is just as good. I remember being chastised at a gathering of “art directors” when I mentioned I designed direct mail for charities. Like I was lesser of designer than they were.
It’s HARD to be this good -if I may… By understanding the rules of what makes the medium of direct mail successful makes me a good designer. And it makes the design I do matter. It makes the pack do better. But it only plays part of the role as we know.
Design matters – but only when it’s done with your audience in mind. And how many designers can say they design with the end user in mind? I hope you can.