Designing Forwards and Backwards

I recently found this Creatiplicity podcast. The host can be a little precious, but in his episode Elliot Jay Stock says some striking things.

Why did we start designing?

We didn’t start designing because we wanted to “solve problems” or find “elegant solutions.”

We started designing things because we love to make and fiddle and shape and see what can come of it.

It’s interesting to remember this. It gets back to the diy/punk spirit of design.

We didn’t get into designing things because we cared about x-height or kerning or grids or bauhaus or wire-rimmed circular glasses… all those things we think will make a Frank Chimero or Jason Santa Maria notice us.

I got into designing things because I loved making my friends laugh.

Why did you start designing things?

Trend as worthwhile correction

If you’ve been on designers’ sites recently you’ve seen the simple, type driven design trend.

Elliot mentions this (his site adheres to the trend as well) and says it’s worthwhile as a needed exploration/focus on web typography.

It’s true: type has never been as sexy on the web as it is right now.

But he says the strong aesthetic stuff is what he loved so much about designing websites. It wasn’t about the “content out” or “mobile first,” it was about “holy shit this looks cool!”

Until he mentioned this I was sort of oblivious—type-driven sites just felt like good design.

Now I can see it. And I think it helps to see it, to let it be what it is: a piece of temporal cultural taste.

It tastes good.

These thoughts gave me pause to think about my profession, to think forwards and backwards about design and heart and doing it well. Hope it does the same for you.

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