DOES GOOD GRAPHIC DESIGN SOLVE PROBLEMS?
I seen this very question on a billboard while driving in my home county of Lancaster in Pennsylvania and It started the wheels turning. Does Good Graphic Design Solve Problems? Well isn’t that the point? While learning the basic fundamentals of graphic design you start to grasp the concept that your design must solve a client’s problem or most likely a set of problems. If your not solving some sort of problems with your design it is ineffective and your job is not done. Let’s take a look at how good graphic design solves problems and then we will start to see that graphic design must solve a problem to be effective!
What Is A Graphic Designer?
Let’s first take a look at What is a graphic designer… Graphic designers are natural problems solvers and live for the challenge of every project. A graphic designer’s mission is to help their clients convey a message and to help consumers or viewers understand that message. For the most part as I said graphic designers have a natural ability to solve problems but there are some skills that a designer can learn to make the process less brutal and become better at what they do. Graphic design does only involve being creative, a designer must conduct market research and get to know a particular group of people to catch the audience’s attention.
The Types Of Problems Design Solves
Well we now understand a designer has to have the ability to solve problems but then we are left with the question “What type of problems can graphic designers solve?” and once answered we can start to understand why good design solves problems. Clients from time to time have issues with there business such as a product selling well in one region and not so well in another. The design advertisement just might not be capturing theinterests of that particular region or group of people and as a designer this is where we must conduct some market research, find out what visual messages with peak interest within that group of viewers and design a advertisement or visual identity that will resonate with that audience.
There are also the problems that a client is faced with during start up and probably the most important as well as difficult problem to solve. This problem is most commonly referred to as Corporate Identity, it is something I believe is a problem a design solves over and over again. Corporate Identity solves a variety of issues such as identifying the clients brand, designing visual icons that convey your clients message, visually expressing your clients product and it’s quality.Your job as a designer is to help your client help their customers or viewers understand the quality of their products and services with your creative visual skills. Solving the Corporate Identity problem drives into something in the industry we call Design Thinking which defined by Tim Brown “is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”
Design Thinking Process
As designers we are expected to take our thinking or solutions and make them visual. Now design thinking starts with observation or market research, we must get to know our audience in order to solve the original problem or to educate them on a particular solution. Now as far as the problem of a product selling more in one region and not another design thinking doesn’t look at the original problem of the product not selling within that area or group. In the design think process you as the designer will start to observe that group of people and their culture. There are five basic principles to design thinking which are empathy, define, ideate, prototype, and test. For the sake of this article I just want to focus on Empathy and Define.
Now in the design thinking process empathy involves observing an audience or group of people to identify their needs and then answer those need through design. Now these physical or mental needs of an individual have not been met by any existing solution which yes makes it a problem. Now clients or business may have a solution for these such problems such a products or services but have failed or just don’t know how to effectively convey these solutions to the individuals with the problems. This is where a design steps in a uses the next principle of design thinking define by identifying the needs and suggests a possible visual solution to convey the clients message or solution to their audience’s needs.
I didn’t want to go to into depth on this topic because I feel like the question has an obvious answer and if you are confused when faced with this question it is time to go back to the fundamentals of graphic design. As designers we need to go back to the basic from time to time and reteach ourselves the importance behind graphic design which is GOOD DESIGN DOES SOLVE PROBLEMS and it’s the whole purpose of graphic design as well as many other media forms or professions!