Design: What works, what doesn’t

It’s a very different world from the time the term “Graphic Design” first came into use in 1927 (attributed to the type designer William Addison Dwiggins).

Today our lives are immersed in a world of designed things. Just consider what you’ll encounter at your corner Starbucks: the shiny chrome machinery, the shelves of packaged coffee, the coffee poster decor, signs everywhere, even the mobile phone you use to pay for your tall whatever. As a means of providing access to information or an affordance for the use of any sort of object, graphic design is increasingly an inseparable part of this world of things.


dwiggins design1

05DwigginsITC 1
Dwiggins established practical and aesthetic standards for print.

More on Dwiggins

Steven Heller on Dwiggins

Design can still be intended for communication and expression, but now interactivity—through our fingertips, our eyes, our voice or our whole bodies—is often how we experience it. In all of this, the principles of good design matter more than ever (remember the Florida ballots in the 2000 US Presidential election if you’re not convinced). 

2000 election recount 
Florida, 2000

Usability testing and the Palm Beach County ballot

Problems with punchcards were well known 

Machines that don’t work

We all can see that sometimes design is the driving force, sometimes it’s invisible. (Expressing his design philosophy, the great, seminal designer Adrian Frutiger, said that the design of spoons and his specialty, typography, should be “banal and beautiful”.) 

frutiger portrait


240px FrutigerFaces 1

th 1
Samples of Frutiger’s extraordinarily thoughtful approach to design.

Frutiger: Type Design 

Frutiger: An Appreciation

Considered for its thoughtfulness, its success in accomplishing what is intended, and for avoiding the unintended, the design we encounter every day is worth a closer look. 

So, here goes…

Look for new blog posts about design that works and doesn’t…

design, good design, typography | 248.701.0711 | | ©