I’ve pretty much exhausted the meagre supply of designs I did from my last job. Don’t worry, I have permission to use these designs, so many thanks to Chris, my ex-boss, and from those lovely people that ‘starred’ in the Awards Posters, for allowing me to use them.
But looking through some documents I found graphics and illustrations that I had not been involved with. For a couple of years I was commandeered to the Writing-Cool-Stuff-in-Java Department (yes, that’s what we called it) and much the of the design work went elsewhere within the business. Without my beady eye for detail, slight pedantry and almost fanatic defence of the apostrophe, a lot of the design, I felt, could have been improved.
It’s all very well chucking out a bunch of JPEGs of stuff that I’ve designed in the past for a portfolio, but what about the actual process of design and of the ideas behind it?
Human beings are simple creatures. We better process information that is presented in a simple and clear manner. Or maybe, that’s just me, I don’t know. But how many times have you seen a presentation or read a document where illustration is complicated or poorly designed? Like me, do your cringe tubes explode when you see a graphic with arrows and boxes all over it, with 300 colours, and half a dozen typefaces, sizes and styles? I even found an example of a document sent out to clients with two massive spelling mistakes in it…
The Documentalist is pretty geeky about design, especially when it comes to getting information understood by your audience. How might your customers react to design that is messy and over-complicated? And your employees too? Again, I have seen training presentations and documents covered with arrows and boxes and mismatched type, and I have seen colleagues utterly bored with what they are looking at. At best, they’ll have a little nap, at worst, the information you are trying to get into their brains simply won’t go into their brains.
So, again, this is an example of how you should not only be concentrating on your External design but Internal design too. Standardising your output across all media and outlets means that your entire design portfolio is easier to manage, easier to understand and, very importantly but often overlooked, creates a bridge between your employees, your business and your customers.
So I decided to create another section of the website that attempts to address this. I took some of the older illustrations from my last job, designs that were created by someone else, and attempted to improve them. Obviously, because in my two years hiatus as a trainee Java Whizz, I had no control over what was produced, nor do I have an exact idea of what was originally trying to be conveyed, I have simply reinterpreted the original illustration as I see it. Whilst keeping it similar to the initial design, I hope that I have managed to improve it. Only a handful of designs exist, but I hope that they illustrate (pun probably intended) how The Documentalist can look at your current design with a fresh pair of eyes and find areas of improvement.