What is good design and how to recognize it?
Design was invented for a pragmatic reason and that is to communicate information to whom is addressed, in a clear way and as engaging as possible. Some people might confuse design with art, but the main difference between them is that design is objective and art is subjective.
Good art is interpreted and good design is understood.
In order to recognize good design, we must first understand the principles of what makes it good. It is true that most of design disciplines like logo design, illustration, packaging design, UI/UX, editorial, etc, have different and intersecting rules as well, but for now let’s have a look at some useful general design principles:
1. Good design solves a problem
Good design isn’t just about aesthetics or style based on our own preference. Design should always provide a solution to a problem that could make a positive impact on a business and contribute to its success. That problem could mean multiple things, such as:
A company might need to update its logo to be more up-to-date with the modern social media, to be more relevant to their evolving target audience, to make the brand look more premium, or to just improve its aesthetics and public perception.
A company might change its website to make it easier for users to navigate, to catch-up with the fast-changing webdesign trends, to reflect the recent company rebrand or to increase sales by improving its usability, SEO, content and conversion rate.
A company might change the packaging design of their product to stand out more on the shelves, to communicate their new eco-friendly/sustainable approach, to update their design according to new regulations or to make their new products look consistent within the brand identity.
2. Good design makes a product understandable
Whether your product means an actual physical product, an app or more of a service, good design will emphasize its strong points, its benefits and features and will leave no room for questions or interpretation, therefore easing the buying process.
3. Good design is aesthetic
While visual design is not only about the beauty of it, it is very important that key aesthetic principles like Color, Shape, Pattern, Line, Texture, Visual weight, Balance, Scale, Proximity and Movement are well applied. Every aspect of these elements should guide the viewer into better understanding and feeling a product, a service or the brand. If your visual brand identity feels low-quality, your products/services will automatically be perceived as low-quality.
4. Good design is honest
If you buy an expensive product or service that has a premium design and promises high-quality features, but subsequently it turns out to be disappointing, the design implicitly fails and the company will not survive in the long-term.
5. Good design is simple
Why is good design simple? Shortly, because simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Simple design has certain advantages over the more complicated ones: it’s easier to read and follow the information, doesn’t confuse the audience and communicates a premium image. By keeping it short and simple, you ensure that your audience isn’t unnecessarily overwhelmed and distracted from the message that you intend to convey.
6. Good design evokes feelings and emotions
The best design makes people move, makes them feel, makes them choose you over the competition. And this aspect is very important considering the fact that people make purchases based on their feelings. Ninety percent (or more) of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously, according to research. That means we’re not making our decisions logically. We’re relying on our emotions.
If you found all these principles helpful, I invite you to take a further look at what is the value of a strong brand identity.