A new day a new blitz, this time we dig into the nature of design. This blitz was interesting since most of what I needed or would like to use was easily found in the comforts of my own home. You still won’t see that since I decided to venture out to yet another mall and take the design perspectives from there. I figured a mall would be the best place to accomplish the blitz simply because I had worked in retail for well over 7 years and a good chunk of that time I dealt exclusively with clothing. So as I was reading our lessons on design and how they play a part I was given essentially flashbacks to certain instances in my work history. Malls are filled to the brim with signs, words, images, music, basically anything and everything that can be used to coax customers into stores and out with products. I knew I could find both good and bad examples of most things on my design blitz. Ready?
Colors are important. They have a weight, symbolism, and even are known to trigger memories and sensations within the human brain. This is why certain companies can hold the rights to specific colors (McDonalds, Walmart, etc.). I consider the provided picture a failure. First off I am not the best at photo and video manipulation by a long shot…but I feel I can almost replicate this image. The hues of red, orange, and yellow are supposed to give off the vibes of fire. They kind of get there, but it also could be lava, oil, or a really close up picture of greasy pizza. Color without the assistance of lines will create images to every person, be careful and aware of what image it portrays on its own.
A side rant away from the colors chosen for this album is also the ghost like ‘n’ and the name of the group located underneath. Without looking at the actual words would you think that lettering choice would represent a rock band…I didn’t. The lone ‘n’ makes me think of bands like Nirvana, because they had one word that started with an ‘n’. This bands name is longer and contains words that don’t begin with ‘n’. One of the words I actually found out is not even part of their name. Broken is the album’s title and Nine Inch Nails is the band.
That all deals with typography. The look of the letters, the typeface, is the first thing our brains notice. They give an impression to readers on what to expect or how to feel. The leading of lines gives the mind a way of breathing while reading longer pieces. Tracking and kernelling can affect the reading pattern in a single word by changing the spacing between letters. It all plays a key role into what the words mean to us when we read them. Take for instance the sign below. Without reading the second line, if you have never been to Dick’s :Sporting Goods you would still be able to take a gander at what the store was about. The typeface seems to all have the same cap height and base line. The blocky letters are pretty close together. The only real big difference seems to be the ascender line which is given to us in a clue with the stylish apostrophe. The typeface looks like it belongs in the military or on a jersey. The apostrophe being an assortment sport equipment makes it more likely to be the latter of the options. The size and typeface difference grabs attention.
Nothing can grab my attention like artwork in the middle of nowhere. It makes me think the store called my mother and she came over, looked around, and said, “The walls are too empty, you know what would look good…a painting!”. Then they proceeded to find the most random art that was being pedaled out on some corner and slapped it on the wall. Never at viewing height. The art is always too high or to low (at least in my opinion). Here we see what seems to be some kind of woman or elf standing on an outcropping of rocks in the ocean. Most of this painting is quite dark except for her and some of the water directly in front of her. Her arms and stretched out but the rest of her body stays in line, almost like a cross. The monster in the lower left is dark and seems to come from the dark. A classical symbol of good and evil. Light and dark giving way for our minds to create a story from a simple non-moving visual depiction.
A trend that rose with ferocity is the juxtaposition of the painting is minimalism. The power of less is more. Even art has used minimalism to make impactful statements, show truths, and in the case below sell butter. In the dairy aisle where you were just bombarded with greens, oranges, and purples from the vegetable section you will stroll past an area mostly bathed (in my memories at least) in yellow and beige. Using the bright packaging to grab the eye, the quick depiction of what is held inside, and the precise name stated in easy to read font quickly sells you unsalted butter sticks made from sweet cream. In one corner in a tint of the color scheme stands the branding not to be forgotten. Most have probably seen this and can probably guess which store it came from without looking it up. Because it stuck with you. You are not given a million and one things to look at that will hopefully sell this item to you, it is the breathing room and simplicity that create a more harmonious feeling.
Minimalism is not the only way to create the feeling of harmony. Another design is balance. Colors, shapes, and text all have visual weight. The advertisement I stumbled upon below plays with balance. Notice how they line people so you can see all of them, the are all leaning towards the center to draw the eye towards the person in front. All who are wearing solid black point to each other while everyone wearing colored shirts are on the opposite side. The background and floor are kept at lighter tones to make up for the dark tones of the focal point. It is all a balancing act.
My favorite design element (since I love to quilt) is the idea of rhythm. Here we play with repeating patterns and the spacing they are given an inconsistent amount of space or consistent spacing. The image below shows fabric from a pillow with consistent spacing. Yet the rhythm is changed by the fact the colors do change.
Proportion is one we notice in advertisements more often than not. Below is a picture off of a familiar bag of lozenges. Notice the size of the honey dipper in comparison to the actual lozenge and leaf. They also gave smaller images surrounding the main image of other herbal plants.
Dominance is another design aspect I saw a lot of. One of my favorites is for this cast iron Dutch oven. Everything is grey and white. You would think your eyes then would first land on what seems to be exquisite berry crumble inside since it is the only difference in color. Yet the seemingly pitch black cast iron cookware is hard to look away from. It fills the empty spaces. It is not captured in this photo, but this picture is not even in the center. It is off to the corner on a sign with the words Martha Stewart in her iconic blue running across it. But the pot wins simply because it is the darkest spot there. It dominates the sign and seems to take up all the space.
Unity can be done with either people or things. All that matters is that somehow they are grouped and leave a bigger amount of empty space than needed. Could they spread out? Yes. It just sends a message when they are stuck closer together. Like in the Halo poster artwork seen below. The since of comradery and no friend left behind comes to mind, they are a team.
I hope you enjoyed going on my adventure through the mall to find design examples. The world we live in is full of good designs and bad designs in everything. What are some of your favorites? If you want to read more on the subject please follow the link to the source of my education.