The Fourth Wall

3.28.09 DESIGN MATTERS [by Molly] #1

Using a laptop for most of my work at designfarm, means that my projects travel home with me and this invites more opportunities to share what I do as a professional designer with my family. My daughter, Molly  (age 11), has become particularly interested and engaged in all things design-related; discussing logos and book cover design with me when we get home from work and school and even (gasp) talking about being a designer.

For now, Molly mainly needs to concentrate on being a sixth grader–grappling with linear functions, French vocabulary and science projects, among a zillion other things–but the kid just can’t help paying attention to and thinking about design.

So I’d like to introduce a regular column (when Molly’s homework is done!) where she can share her ideas about design… the good, the not so good, and the sublime. Take it away MOLLY!

A table of contents is used to find any item/chapter in a book, right? I can barely call this a table of contents. It was created sloppily and messily, I could hardly find what I needed, when I needed it!¬† If you can find anything in it in under 5 minutes that’s amazing!

Mom says: This is a kind of trendy/hipster treatment for a TOC, but what good is trendy if it doesn’t work? This is a classic example of form NOT following function.

This took awhile to figure out the words. It’s not readable and is poorly designed! Complaint 1; the “N” isn’t understandable. Complaint 2; the “G” looks out of order and sloppy. This doesn’t work because as an advertisement you would want people to buy from you, but if your ad isn’t readable then no one will know what or why you’re selling that item.

Mom says: This isn’t a new concept (people as letter forms) but I’ve seen it done much more effectively. Perhaps this falls into the “too much of a good thing” category. One word built out of human characters would be plenty. Three words becomes… difficult. There’s also possibly a problem of scale. If this were a billboard you’d have a better chance at reading the words from a great distance. But who reads a magazine from more than a foot away?

Molly and I hope you enjoy this column. If you are a school-age kid who thinks about design, drop us an email, we’ll write back!

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