• Akshayta Rao

It's all about perspective

Let me go out on a limb here and ask you something that will surely get me into trouble.

Aren’t designers really annoying sometimes?

“The kerning of that logo is completely off. Couldn’t they have used a more modern typeface?”

“Don’t buy that, its packaging is ugly. Look at the finish on this one - it’s glorious. Take this!”

“You used Comic Sans in your presentation? Pathetic!”

“And why are you still making presentations on PowerPoint? Grow up.”

“I’m sorry, I cannot work on a Windows machine. Please find me a Mac.”

Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard a designer friend say these words before and smile complacently if YOU were the designer friend who uttered these words. What one finds even more irritating than a designer’s arrogance is his unapologetic demeanour - his belief that he is enriching your life with his intelligent input on design. But before you begin blaming us for this behaviour, consider where we’re coming from and where we’re headed.

We are a community that’s been trained to design with perfection but always be on the lookout for imperfections. Finding flaws is in a designer’s DNA. We can’t help it. It’s part of who we are. In fact, it’s what makes us who we are. We’ve been told time and again that asking questions won’t get us into trouble. It’s not asking them that’s riskier. Because how is one expected to better a design if he doesn’t first find out what’s wrong with it? It might appear as though we have a ‘glass-half-empty’ outlook, but really, we’re just preparing to fill the glass ourselves.

Asking the right question is the most important step to achieving life-changing design solutions. Elon Musk, CEO of everything that this world needs, catapulted his way to success by asking himself –

What things would have a great impact on the future of humanity’s destiny?

He learned that the most difficult thing was to be able to come up with the right questions and the day he began to do that, the rest was obtained quite simply. Today his company, Tesla Motors, claims to bring about an electric car revolution that will free customers from oil burden. SpaceX, another one of his ventures, is in the thick of working on plans to colonize Mars in the event that Earth may not be habitable. And with Hyperloop, he plans to revolutionize the transport industry by introducing an altogether new form of travel. Elon Musk is the ideal designer of the digital age and it is his perspective on the world that allows him to change it.

Thus, it is important for designers to look at things differently. When we see the FedEx logo, we don’t think of courier services, we think of the brilliant use of negative space between the E and X that forms an arrow. The Toblerone logo delights us not because of the nougat flavoured chocolate, but because we smirk at the hidden bear in the mountain. Amazon doesn’t mean e-commerce to us, it means a website with an excellent interface coupled with a smooth experience. Uber just isn’t a cab service, it’s the company that developed a cohesive style guide for its brand. And Meryl Streep from The Devil wears Prada isn’t just another Hollywood character, she’s our spirit animal! Now that you know this, please forgive us for being pretentious some of the time, self-important all of the time, and for sometimes pointing out that the sweater you’re wearing isn’t just blue, it’s cerulean.

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Welcome to Tryst with Design. This blog has added immense value to my life, and I love having the opportunity to share my musings with you. Read on, and enjoy.