Friday, September 02, 2005

Designers kill me.

I spent a couple of hours in a meeting with two of them, talking over creative directions for a new identity for an existing brand. To wit:

1. Because my program realizes that people often approach writers with skepticism, because hell, anyone can write, we get a very solid grounding in both the theories that underlie our structural and stylistic choices and in learning how to explain and argue for these choices. Which I love. But designers are totally different! it's this whole intuition thing, and here let me insert that

2. I am a complete moron when it comes to design. My opinions on design are all conceptual; I have no sense of whether something is aesthetically brilliant or terrible. In my more high-falutin' moments I fancy that this is because I can't argue for them, but I think it's just that I have no visual sense. Or rather that I'm designerly autistic - I've taken enough design at CMU to be able to be able to rattle off rules of what makes something good or bad design, but I can't feel it.

Back to 1. So of course Catapult employs very talented designers, and today we were looking at designs they'd worked up in support of 3 potential creative directions, and they were saying things like I feel like it wants to be more like this and ...the black, which totally feels like "performance" and This corner is so saturated, you almost want that saturation all the way across and as soon as I started this project I've felt that the main thing was to get your eyes on the package. And they're always right, because they're brilliant. I envy them their visual sense, which seems more primitive and shamanistic and thus more desirable than verbal sense, which seems much more easily learned, and I envy their certainty that products and designs ARE a certain way, and it's just a matter of figuring them out.

If I didn't love words so goddamned much I'd have a huge case of designer envy. But I spent the second half of the afternoon thinking up taglines. Being paid to think about words! It's the best thing ever.


Blogger dave said...

I wonder how much of this "visual sense" is reliant upon the vocabulary/jargon used to express it. That is, maybe half of their sense is an actual intuition for the image, the visual, and the other half is really just knwoing which words/concepts to pull out of their word-sack.

I recently read John Berger's "Ways of Seeing", which is all about placing visual-sense authority not in "authorities" but rather in the naive/innocent viewer. Hence the above.

1:40 PM  

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