Confusing and Understandable Designs


Design can be intuitive or confusing, even in very basic products.  Following are two contrasting examples of products that are clear or complicated in use.


A pad of scrapbooking paper doesn’t seem confusing, but this product has already left me frustrated. Each designed piece of paper is glue-bound into the pad. The margin strip at the top is rendered useless for crafts by the hole and the non-matching color, however, the paper is not perforated below the margin, and can only be torn out of the pad at the binding, leaving the white strip attached and needing to be manually cut off.



Toothpaste is an essential daily product, and this design simplifies the process of using it. The lid with its smooth, sturdy lip encourages me to flip the lid open with my thumb, the line where the parts of the cap meet show me where it opens, and the hinge indicates the direction and movement of the opening lid. The soft design of the tube means that the extruding of toothpaste is easy, and the process will likely begin someone automatically as I open the lid while grasping the tube.




Jotted this down today. Reading ahead in my textbook, “Burn Your Portfolio” by Michael Janda. This is so true, and a skill I truly want to learn!


Head Heart and Hand Highlights

This year’s AIGA conference in Minneapolis has been a great time for me as an emerging designer.  Put a few hundred people who design for a living into an already artsy city, and you get stylish outfits,  excellent programs and overall a sumptuous array of great design, new papers, and big ideas.
Here are a few gems I’ve learned from the conference speakers so far:
Scott Stowell taught that denying yourself possibilities opens up new possibilities.
George Lois taught that creativity and great innovation means taking risks.
Randy Hunt taught that the best way to achieve an effective solution is to realize that your first design isn’t always right, and that testing and changing your ideas is totally okay.
Enjoying these tidbits of wisdom?  Below are a few more.
-Through the  process of creating art, new directions and nuances can surfaces.  Let the process shape your work as you go along
-Express your freedom to say no early and often.
Overall this has been a great conference, and a wonderful chance to connect with talented designers from around the country.

A Dao of Web Design

A Dao of Web Design

“Think about what your pages do, not what they look like. Let your design flow from the services which they will provide to your users, rather than from some overarching idea of what you want pages to look like. Let form follow function, rather than trying to take a particular design and make it “work”.” -John Allsopp


Took the time to reread this classic article on the need for web design to break free from its print origins and become a unique, responsive creature of its own. Highly recommended read!