Determining what makes for brilliant design is difficult, isn’t it? How many times have you said, “I don’t know what it is, but I really like it.” (Or maybe you really DIDN’T like it.) Furthermore, it’s totally subjective to the beholder. What one person loves, another hates.
So how could I possibly write a post about what makes for brilliant design? Rather than discussing the elements of brilliant design, which would quickly descend into an argument, I’m going to discuss the qualities of brilliant design.
Quality #1: Brilliant design captures the essence of the topic
It’s why Crayola uses bright, bold colors while Apple uses subtle tones and clean fonts – to capture the essence of their products. Take 30 seconds and quickly visit each website. Even if you had no prior knowledge of either, immediately you know that Crayola sells children’s products and Apple sells sleek technology.
Quality #2: Brilliant design speaks to the target audience
Let’s look at Wrangler. Immediately upon loading the site, you see a country singer in a cowboy hat. The Wrangler logo looks like it has been branded into leather with the Wrangler name written in ropy lettering. Next to the slide show are two still images depicting quintessential small-town American guys.
Guess who they’re (primarily) targeting? Patriotic, down-home, rural men.
Quality #3: Brilliant design has flexibility
From an embroidered t-shirt to a billboard to a web ad, great design translates well across mediums. Google McDonald’s logos. The golden arches are presented in a variety of treatments – full color, one color, black, greyscale, white, with and without shading, outlined, and many more.
Such versatility has allowed McDonald’s to use nearly the same logo for over 60 years.
Brilliant design qualities are timeless
While styles go in and out, certain colors become popular and unpopular, and fonts get overused, the qualities of brilliant design transcend fads and prevailing tastes. Whether you or I personally like these case study websites, logos, and overall design choices, each embraces the qualities of brilliant design and can be appreciated for their effectiveness.
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