Jason over at Speakup has written about the flippant description of design as “interesting”. I can’t even begin to count the number of times when I have met apparent seniors in the design industry who, for whatever reasons, look at a design piece and say, “Wow! Interesting!” I have always considered that response to be more as a shield to hide behind, so that the person does not have to be entangled in lengthy discussions.

But of course, if the goal is to generate discussion [ as Jason is talking about design students using the word “interesting” ], then it would be prudent to analyze why a certain design piece is attractive enough to be called “interesting”.

Looking at design and judging design has as much to do with asking questions as giving answers. So before you decide to summarize your critique in one word with interesting, ask yourself what you mean to say, then say it like you mean it. And most importantly, when you’re in my classroom, do not use the word interesting.

The same rule [ although different words ] would also apply to feedback received from clients. Some clients usually respond with “It doesn’t feel right.” and there is no further discussion on that. When attempting to extract what that ‘feeling’ is, some clients also get irritated with the incessant questioning. While the client has hired the designer because of her skillset, without constructive feedback / criticism, there can be no evolution on the existing design piece. Graphic design is not pure art and is not isolated from the business strategy of the client’s company. Graphic design is a communication solution and requires inputs. It an evolutionary process where the graphic designer needs collaboration from the client and cannot work in a vacuum.

You might dislike eating a particular food for example. Lets take Cheesecake for example. Over the years you have developed a dislike toward Cheesecake. You don’t like how it tastes and how your mouth feels after you have taken a bite. So you have decided that Cheesecake is not for you.

Cheesecake is a solution to the “Dessert” problem at the end of a meal. Your disliking Cheesecake does not make it a bad solution to the Dessert problem. Quite simply put, your disliking Cheesecake is a personal opinion – an individual’s choice – and you’re welcome to it.

Applying the above analogy to a logo design : you might say “This design doesn’t feel right.” for whatever reasons [ knowing and articulating those reasons is a very prudent method to achieve a design solution that fits your personal likes and dislikes as well as caters to your company’s goals ]. But your not liking the design does not mean that it is bad design – it could very well work brilliantly for your business strategy and in order to understand how it might do that, you need to put aside your personal biases and look at the design from the problem-solver’s point of view – the graphic designer’s point of view – the view point built on the creative brief you provided combined with years of prior design experience. Prior problem-solving experience.


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  1. very true…
    as they say….One man’s meat is another man’s poison…
    but yes my meat which is your poison doesn’t necessarily make my meat a poison for everyone…

    But in a professional world, for a piece of work, you have a client, and if your meat is poison for that guy…as they say…you damn well change your eating habits.

    nice blog…


  2. Hey Viresh! So damn good to hear from you. I am in Gurgaon for a while. Please lets meetup. As for the blog post, well, I don’t mind changing my eating habits for the client – but will definitely not compromise if the client’s tastes contradict the business’ strategic requirements. It’s a fine balance and at the end, design is a solution to a problem – some tweaks and iterations are good to reach a solution that fits – but there is nothing that fits ‘all’ – whether design or any other field of work. And expecting that is as bad as trying to please everyone – the work suffers, the piece never gets added to the visible portfolio and eventually, when the design adversely affects the business, the client is going to hate the designer.

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