Design is communication

May 13, 2006

Jason Santa Maria has written [an excellent article](http://www.jasonsantamaria.com/archive/2006/05/01/pretty_ugly.php) on the design vs un-design debate.

This question recently cropped up for me when I was pitching to a new client – who is a photographer / designer. He made the comment that he wanted his site not “to look designed”.

I thought “hmmm designing without designing” :-)

Which leads in to Jason’s point when weighing in to the debate:

> What are you really fighting about? If the un-design proponents are right, do they win a bland internet? And if the design enthusiasts are right, do they win a conceptual web that no one can comprehend? Some spoils to fight over. You (we) are all fighting for the same thing. *We all want something great*.

I’ve always been a proponent of the idea that something can be highly functional *as well as* look good – it involves a melding of ideas from the design team and the programming team. I’ve met many designers who are only concerned with the “look & feel” and many programmers who say “as long as it works”.

I respond by saying that “working” really means success on more than just visual or functional levels. One doesn’t have to exclude the other and there are other important considerations to “working / success”. Which has more to do with goals rather than the road to get there.

But I digress.. Jason finishes by saying:

> Things are not either black or white. Good design is certainly not *only* something visually beautiful. I will yell it from the rooftops, **design is communication!** Which means: design is writing, design is organization, design is usability, and on and on. Design encompasses much more than you think. If you are still clinging to the idea that design is merely decoration, *or* that something has to be visually appealing to be successful, you are as thick as the mud you’ve been flinging.

Have a read of the article, it’s short and sweeeet :-)

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