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Simplifying the complex

Simplifying the complex

The value of design is improving, certainly faster in some sectors than others, but our ability to simplify the complex is driving this shift.

Brand systems are becoming more commonplace. Organisations are understanding the importance of having a narrative that appeals to their audience and go beyond the typical “isn’t this product incredible” idea. This has been amazing to see and the creative results are outstanding. What becomes apparent when looking into the process of creating these strategies and visual identities is the vastly different ways everyone designs. Some work in a scattergun approach pinning ideas and seeing which one works while others are so methodical that each piece is delicately chosen as the ideal decision and others are just something else entirely. All of these have one thing in common and that’s producing something wonderful that they, the client and the audience believe in.

This belief in a brand from both designer and client is where the best results stem from. That doesn’t mean we believe in the brand at the very start but over time when deep diving into who they are is when that belief happens; when we move past the façade and understand that this organisation has importance to someone beyond just money.

In the profit margin world of architecture and placemaking, it’s hard to move away from the money sometimes. However, this belief often comes from a conversation you didn’t anticipate having. In the initial stages of a project, we were shown around by a security guard who was so excited about exploring the building (even though they walk it every day) they jumped at the chance each time we go back. This is when we start to understand that this place is special to someone and it’s that we need to show to the world not the more straightforward finish of the interiors or glamour of the amenities.

Expressing this intangible concept using our toolset of glyphs, words, imagery and colour set in certain ways amazes me. The way we as people communicate a magnitude of understanding using just these core elements I find special and is what draws me to design. Communicating these concepts of emotion and belief through a designer's toolset are incredibly complex to demonstrate but when done correctly are so powerful that they leave a lasting impact.

I’m in the belief everyone can design and be “creative” and it’s like all things we just have to learn. But do we still undervalue this idea of making the intangible understandable? As an industry are we still being misunderstood that all this can be done in 5 minutes with the use of a logo generation tool and selecting a colour colours that we like without any consideration of achieving belief in a brand? Personally, I think the value of design is improving, certainly faster in some sectors than others, but our ability to simplify the complex is driving this shift.

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