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July 4, 2010

Design is in the Eye of the Beholder

In this post, Tavia explores the subjective nature of design …

Tavia Gavinski

After reading Heidi Strand’s blog post about how we ‘see’ color, I was reminded of how subjective my job as a graphic designer is. I design layouts that are pleasing to my eye, but that may not translate into something that appeals to my colleagues or our clients. As the saying goes, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. In my case, beauty equates to design.

Our process for visual projects goes something like this: a consultant meets with a client, gathers information on what direction the client wants to move in, for example, what their goals are, what type of style they gravitate toward, etc. A creative brief is written up and handed over to me. I take in all of the information and process it to determine what I feel is appropriate to convey the right look and feel that would be best for the end result.

When the consultant is satisfied with the layout options, they are sent on to the client. I never know how the client will react. Sometimes we hit the nail on the head, and they love it. Other times, we head back to the design process for revisions. There have been times when I have loved a design, but the client chose a completely different look. I’m slightly disheartened when that happens, but I also know that the client sees it differently then I do. Design is subjective. It’s not right or wrong. It just depends on who’s viewing it. What I think is beautiful may be on the opposite end of the spectrum as what my coworkers or our clients think.

Over the years, I’ve tried to remove myself emotionally from the process. Not the design process, because I’m passionate about what I do. But by removing my feelings from critiques, I am able to focus on creating the best possible solution to fit our clients’ needs. Ultimately, our goal is to please the client but also be proud of the work we put out there. So although we may not see eye to eye on certain designs, we make sureto come together on an end goal. Different perspectives keep us on our game and make each day in the design world (however you see it) exciting!