A Reflection Vignelli’s Canon

This little booklet explains the what design is and how to work with design in order to create something amazing and timeless. That’s one of the first points I noticed that really stood out: a rant on how design is made to withstand time and despises obsolescence. I found this statement to be a little odd, because isn’t it possible that, at some point in the future, even the strongest of designs would be considered obsolete? Something in me says that the human race is always changing, and that regardless of how amazing and wonderful a design might be in our time, it could be completely different in the future.

Maybe I’m thinking too much from an English Major’s standpoint. Maybe because I am constantly watching language change, I can’t imagine everything staying the same, especially something so nebulous and subjective as design. What is a good or bad design?

The section on ambiguity also caught my attention, as one of my favorite things in any form of art is when there are multiple meanings to a single work. I find this important because, in my mind, it can reach a variety of different audiences and create a conversation between people. The way Vignelli explains that it can backfire, though, without explaining how to avoid such a catastrophe makes it a little difficult for me to understand how exactly I can make an ambiguous work without making it a contradiction. Or even if it’s such a negative thing to have a work that’s debated over to such a degree.

The section about equity, and how logos have to stay the same, or at least as close to the original as possible to retain its history was a bit conflicting for me. I’ve seen so many logos change, most notably Pepsi. They’re not necessarily big changes, but it was enough of a change to cause a disruption in society, from what I can recall. And I don’t think there’s necessarily a bad thing in that.

But on the flipside, I’ve also seen it go awry. I used to frequent an art hosting site called DeviantArt (notorious for various reasons). With in the last couple of years, far after I stopped using it, they changed the logo drastically. I cannot understand what the new logo is supposed to represent, and I find it to be ridiculous and, frankly, dumb. There is nothing about it that says DeviantArt anymore, and so I have no idea how to feel about the site.

These points were just a few that really stuck out to me and told me what design is about. Some I don’t agree with, or just personally have trouble wrapping my head around, but it is eye-opening to see how design relates to things like literature and art.

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