Graphic Design – Thinking, Feeling, Doing!
I was fortunate as a youngster to have my stepmother, Sandford, as a first-and-formidable creative mentor. Sandford was a working fine artist, and I would sit for hours by her side as she mixed her paints on a messy, color-strewn palette, her canvas coming to life right before my eyes. I spent a lot of that time cleaning up after her as she worked. Thankfully, Sandford recognized the artist in me early on, but she also saw something else.
“You’re way too organized to be a painter,” she told me one day, “You’ll make a great commercial artist.”
The term “commercial artist” has, of course, evolved into “graphic designer” over the years, but my stepmother was right on the money with her diagnosis. Sandford understood that, while they require different sensibilities and skill sets, the disparate disciplines of the painter and graphic designer have something in common – they move people emotionally and can move them to take action.
In his book, “How Design Makes Us Think and Feel and Do Things,” designer Sean Adams takes a wide-angle view of design and designers, exploring the countless ways they contribute to and influence the world around us.
“All design in any media is created to engage the viewer,” Adams says. “Designers use typography, images, form, material, and color to communicate a message. It may—or may not be— the goal of the designer to manipulate the viewer’s reaction. Nevertheless, every element in successful design works together to tell us how to think and, typically, what to do.”
Manipulation may be a bit too strong, so I’m going with seduction. Every day at Cronin Creative, we utilize all the above tools to craft designs that lure viewers in and spur them to action, always in the service of our client and his or her message. Only when we let our work go out into the world does it get to do what it was intended to do – move people. Whether it’s emotional or purely practical, eliciting a reaction and a response from the intended audience is what it’s all about.
Sometimes, when I’m deeply absorbed in my work, homing in on a good new idea, I feel like that little kid at Sandford’s side, tucking in the loose ends, putting everything in its place, and still amazed and inspired by what’s unfolding before my eyes on my computer screen.