What to do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.
Good graphic design solutions to communication problems can improve the flow of information in society and, therefore, substantially and positively affect education, social well-being and the daily enjoyment of life. In addition, good graphic design solutions can also have a positive economic impact.
It is important to notice that these badly functioning designs were praised for ‘elegance.’ But elegance as theoretical scientists apply it is quite different. The elegance of a mathematical formula is that it explains a phenomenon beautifully, with no parts left over. In design, elegance is more readily perceived as a property of product than of process. If we had more elegant theories, we might look to design for more than elegance.
There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW!
‘Wow’ is the one to aim for.
Power is an interesting word because if you take away its negative aspects from its meaning and then try to understand what it means, you will find out that the word is synonymous of ‘ability to manage a plan.’ If you try to define the word 'design' you find that has the same meaning. Design and power concepts are identical.
We need to aim at essential things, to remove every redundant effects, every useless flowering, to elaborate a concept on mathematical bases, on fundamental ideas, on elementary structures; we strongly need to avoid waste and excess.
An image can only be one element in constructing a sequence of understanding.
There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours. To the cognition of the brain must be added the experience of the soul.
Advertisements saturate our social lives. We participate, daily, in deciphering advertising images and messages. Our ability to recognize and decipher the advertising images that confront us depends on our photographic literacy and our familiarity with the social logic of advertising and consumerism.
Yet, because ads are so pervasive and our reading of them so routine, we tend to take for granted the deep social assumptions embedded in advertisements. There is a great deal more at stake in reading ads than simply wondering whether or not to buy.
Advertisements have sociocultural consequences and repercussions that go beyond the corporate bottom line, even though it is the bottom line which motivates and shapes the ads.
This critical reading of ads seeks to excavate the social assumptions that are conventionally made (and glossed over) in the split second that it takes us to decipher an ad and move on to the next.
Reading ads in terms of the social knowledge necessary to their interpretation enables us to isolate and detail the ideological codes that animate the ads. Suspending the taken-for-granted attitude that accompanies the reading process can turn the reading of ads from depoliticized diversion into a political act.
Design is an expression of the purpose, and it may (if it is good enough) later be judged as art; design depends largely on constraints and it is a method of action (there are always constraints and these usually include ethic).
Design is a conversation with a situation. Design as process comes in as a fundamental tool to rethink & improve. The future of design, then, is to advance economic, ecologic and social models, systems, and services.