Relevance of Design

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Since we have the tendency to follow the Americans at many levels, if we were to go by the Cambridge dictionary of American English, 'Design' as a noun informally refers to a plan for the construction of an object (as in architectural blueprint, circuit diagrams and sewing patterns) while “to design” (verb) refers to making this plan. And as per the same dictionary, advertising is an example of a vital design discipline known as 'Communication Design'. But even the lexicographers would agree that design doesn't have any specific definition. It would be safe to say that design is the language that communication must speak, and if communication is an expression, design is the language. While a general mindset looks at design as something separate from communication, but, as a matter of fact, design is a universe in itself, and communication is just a subset of it.

Design gives a sense of stature to an advertisement
Did you ever notice that design is the fundamental element of anything you communicate! Every commercial advertisement contains more than one aspect of design. The name of the brand is a part of the 'nomenclature design'. The content in it is actually designed in a way that it looks beautiful, so that when you see a headline, you just don't see words, but beautifully written words designed in a manner that they catch your attention. And hence we call it 'content design'. To incorporate a human being endorsing the brand there would be 'casting design', to fashion them in a certain way, you will have 'costume design' and to ensure a free flowing sensible script, there will be a 'script design'. Last but definitely not the least, the overall look of the commercial would be controlled by visual graphics or 'visual design'.

Take for instance the advert for any juice brand. It's name is designed in a certain way to communicate the USP of that brand like Real Juice means the juice is real and not artificial, or Tropicana, implying it contains fruits from the far tropics. Then if you look at the way the packaging is done, putting fresh fruits on the packet, with fresh leaves on which the drew drops have still settled, all of this is not just to take you to the dream world of erstwhile years. It is done to communicate purity and that the juice is made of natural fruits. Now the words which are referred to as the tagline are also well designed; designed in order to communicate that the brand only thrives on what it claims and aspires to achieve customer's trust while he watches/reads the ad.

Design is born out of need
Can design skills be acquired or taught? Is it essential in our country, to be an NID (National Institute of Design) or an Art school pass-out, to be an impeccable designer? There might be diverging views on this subject. Here's a thought. A Steve Jobs can be called a designer for he created fantastic design using technology and created a marvel as far as product designing is concerned. But he never went to an NID, he never could finish graduation, as a matter of fact! Kurup feels, “It's not that you have to go to an Art School, you need to be an inventor. You might be a techno-wiz, you can be a fantastic thinker. You can acquire art skills, technical skills can be learnt, but design is something that completely comes from the school of hard knocks, designing is born out of need”

The way we establish a better understanding of design, we realise that it is all pervasive in advertising. But everything that cannot be ignored may not necessarily be worthy of discussing at length as well. So, what more has 'design' to offer that would make it a subject worthy of serious discussion amongst arrays of the ad world?

Design is a simple aesthetic solution to a problem
"At every level of solution”, says Raj Kurup, Creative Chairman, Creativeland Asia, “design is imperative in the name of any action taken to solve a particular problem.” Look at every object of use around you, you needed something to...
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