I need your help!


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I am currently writing an essay on design and would like to know your opinions..

How does our (designers) interpretation of design differ to that of the general public?

for example, do we like pieces we see because we know the process? or why do the public not seem to 'understand' design?
The man in the street either likes or dislikes a piece of design (which has a certain purity to it) whereas a designer will either sneer at it or nick it.

Pad that out to 2000 words and we'll split the 'A' (wink!).
If something's designed badly I simply dimiss it, and whatever it's trying to communicate. It's pretty snobby but I can't help it, it's almost a natural reaction now.
In slightly less facetious mode, I think in some ways design is an art that conceals art as far as Joe Public's interaction with it goes. To take advertising as an example, design sets out to communicate brand values, lifestyle aspirations and the like and that's what the gen. public will take away if the design is pitched correctly. Designers on the other hand will be aware of the creative decisions that went into achieving this and will perhaps end up in a more critical (or appreciative) place as a result.

As far as the viewer is concerned, it is what it is but a designer will have a view on how and why it became what it is and how it succeeds or fails in whatever its assumed objectives are.
In think you hit the nail on the head first time! You look at it and instantly think;

Talentless SeeYouNextTuesday using 5 font families and over feathering the magic wand tool


I'm f*****g havin that!.. I'll call it inspiration!...

Does the above make us all sound like the bastard love child of Robert llewellyn Bowen and an artistic pikey?
Most designers should view work differently from the general public in a way that we investigate how it was created, we should constantly be critiquing work, questioning it.
'How would I portray that message'? does it work me?
How would I make it better?'

A viewer of the general public probably would disregard this analytical chain of thought when viewing communicatons. They would respond if the design grabs there attention.


In addition you might want to talk about how the general publics visual language has evolved in the last several decades, with the introduction of communication technology joe bloggs is more exposed to design.
How would joe bloggs from 1960 view design from present day joey bloggs.?

In my opinion, joe bloggs these days is more likely to be inspired by what he sees on a day to day basis,
And because information is easily accessible, joe bloggs can educate himself on how to do it. Would that make the present day joe blogg more of a critique then 1960s joe blogg,?
The General Public love Comic Sans, Designers do not...

I think when you are educated in something (anything!) you notice things more; such as the way it's been made, the font chosen, colours chosen, why those choices have been made and essentially whether a design works or not. As well as education, experience is probably a huge factor so we as designers are generally more aware of what makes a good design and what doesn't.

The general public probably don't realise how much work goes into design; just walking around shops they probably are paying more attention to products and prices rather than thinking 'hmm someone had to design that, and that, and someone chose that image, but someone else had to photograph it, and someone else had to edit it'. The general public probably have a basic knowledge of what they personally like and dislike, but in terms of 'understanding' design it depends what you mean.

The General Public may not understand how a design is made or what works, but if they are buying a product or taking note of an advert then they are obliviously showing that that design works as they have been drawn to it.

The General Public are like dogs; not necessarily stupid, but we as designers can train them and make them do what we want with design.
The general public are a lot more savvy that we, or they, know. They are subconsciously aware of branding and design to quite a high level. They know what a premium brand looks like, and they know what a cheap brand looks like. When they try and do it themselves, sure, it's crap made with Comic Sans and Papyrus, but they've been educated subliminally over a long period of time to intrinsically know what looks good and what looks cheap. That's why the design cues we instinctively, or through research and learning, know how to use, work so well. It's also why when you let the public loose on a design through crowdsourcing or over researching something, it turns out crap. They know what they like, they just don't know why, and they certainly don't know how.

Just my opinion.
I think you can equate being educated subliminally with being manipulated, which is basically the designer tapping into the media literacy acquired by the gen.pub. through a constant trickle of images and styles over a period of years so that this visual approach becomes understood as meaning traditional and dependable and that look and feel begins to signify vibrant and edgy; the relative qualities of a given design approach are absorbed, producing a common visual shorthand that a product can trade on. It follows, then, that you can understand the message without necessarily being able to explain how it achieves its meaning: design is a strand of mass communication that has parallels with interpersonal non-verbal communication, whereby the literal content of a message is filtered through people's ability to process the presentation.

I've never met two people who come away from McLuhan's proposition in the same way but I understand this as as example of the medium being the message: designers (should) understand this - the public (should) simply 'get' it.
Very helpful

thank you so much everyone! your replies have been really useful and I am going to use all your points to expand on in my essay.. :icon_biggrin:
I believe that the great unwashed general public wouldn't know good design if it leapt out and bit them in the arse and I don't mean just graphic design.

You try and buy a nice tap or settee without having to spend a fortune.

Unfortunately we live in a world where peopl watch East Enders and read the Sun and if things have 'designer' tagged on to them, it generally means 'shite', much the same as in supermarkets 'fun' sized means 'small' and on tv 'funky' means 'crap'.

Everything has to be designed initially so why isn't it designed well - because, in general the average person just doesn't care.

That's my rant for today.
Unfortunately we live in a world where peopl watch East Enders and read the Sun

Hey, I watch Eastenders! :icon_biggrin:

I wouldn't read the Sun if you paid me though. It's the paper for people who like to start sentences with "I'm not racist, but..."

Anybody else seeing a trend of brands having taglines 'for the hell of it?'. I've noticed, particularly on TV, adverts that end with "Company name. Cheesy, not entirely relevant strap line".
alloyd;28278How does our (designers) interpretation of design differ to that of the general public?[/QUOTE said:
I would suggest that the public thinks about design only when it jars. Effective design is largely invisible, which is exactly as it should be.