Serious Play and Intuitive Design
Great Design is Serious, Not Solemn – Paula Scher
- serious play comes from scenarios when you’re under-qualified
- there’s a cycle of serious to solemn in design work
- solemn design happens when you produce what is expected
- stair-steps of life and learning
Design and Discovery – David Carson
- mentions 9/11 and one magazine’s poor handling of it
- eccentric designs
- have fun, put yourself into the work
- intuitive design is powerful, using your gut
- schools don’t teach intuitive design because it isn’t quantifiable
Both of these talks seemed to address that you don’t need to be formally educated in design in order to push its boundaries or make pleasing design choices. I like Carson’s mention of intuitive design, as that’s how I typically lead myself through a design process. I’ll change something, play around with it (as Scher introduces), and ask myself “Does that look right? Does it look professional?” My brain automatically references the many examples of media I’ve seen to answer that question intuitively, and I believe that has to do with exposure and attention.
You can’t learn by passively scrolling, so try paying attention to the design aspects of videos, articles, and any other content you view online. What makes the experience pleasing? What makes the information clear to understand? It has everything to do with design, from spacing to color, to size, movement, and much more.
While both talks agree you don’t need expertise to design, the Scher and Carson approach their works very differently. Carson plays a lot more, and Scher goes through a cycle of serious and solemn. I think this is due to their line of work – while Carson was designing for some companies, he was mostly experimenting. Scher is a world-renowned designer and it seems most everything she does seriously becomes solemn. In turn, that means most designs she does are highly successful.
Overall, I like the idea of playing with work, or tackling something you’re unqualified for. That’s how you’ll climb stairs, as Scher puts it, and that’s how you’ll learn. I’m going to stick with pushing myself to do projects that will force me to use new tools and elements of software or design.
I did 7 tutorials! All three in background, one for social media design, two under colors, and one for infographics.
These tutorials were helpful, easy, and overall pretty cool. Because the purpose of any type of design is to convey a message, basically every one of these tutorials highlighted how to frame your message with colors, shapes, space, and editing.
In terms of making text pop, there are many options I learned about. You can place a solid shape of contrasting neutral color behind the text, put it in some open space over an image, desaturate and blur the image behind the text, or desaturate and add a transparent solid shape over the image behind the text. I liked these tutorials the most because I feel that I learned the most from them. Sometimes I’ve had trouble getting text to pop over an image I’m committed to using, but now I know many options for solving that problem.
I also enjoyed learning about colors – monochromatic and analogous color schemes as well as keeping themes consistent across social media platforms, and making posts unique using clean icons to convey the subject.
To finish, I learned about presenting some information in infographics. It’s easy to make numbers pop and use color and charts to convey information now. Canva is a great free tool for design!
Doing these tutorials and viewing the talks made me realize that I’m not intimidated by the design process, but I definitely have a lot to learn.