Influencing action through graphic design

“Fight against the ugly” is a quote by revered 20th century graphic design icon, Massimo Vignelli describing the nature of graphic design.  

There is currently more information in the digital climate than is possible for a human to process. The rarest commodity in the digital space is human attention. As a result, we are more visually driven and aesthetically engaged than ever before. The nature of design is now a fight for attention. 

The increasing demand for quality and the influx of information has placed a premium on high-quality graphic design that goes beyond beautifying digital and print products. Graphic design can be a potent problem-solving tool that deeply resonates with its target audience.

When you think of inspiring or influential design, you may recall recruitment posters from World War II, TIME magazine covers or anti-smoking ads. These products are all poignant, powerful and clever in their own right. But how much actionable influence do they have beyond the initial breathtaking impression they instil? 

The benefits of graphic design may not be immediate, but the most successful designs are often timeless and enduring. Pininfarina is responsible for some of the most iconic and enduring motor cars in design history. The legacy of these products has immortalised the Ferrari, Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands, and left an indelible mark on the perception of motoring in western culture.

When asked about his underlying design principles, Chairman and grandson of the founder, Paolo Pininfarina responded with, “Our design principles remain the same, as our projects must always be innovative; they need to be pure and elegant with the objective to last a long… time”.

When reflecting on the history of great design and the current digital climate, it is no longer enough to merely look ‘good’. To truly inspire action, design should exceed all expectations. It must encompass the ethos of its purpose, and the socio-political environment in which it lives, cleverly combined by design principles that attract, resonate, and persist in the minds of its audience long after the design appears.

Adrienne from RD Consulting working on a laptop


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