Design that Enhances Life

As I look back on this past year, one of the things I have been thinking about is what inspired me most. I keep coming back to the “Designed by Apple in California” ad that first aired at the WWDC in June.

I was blown away.

It occurred to me that, for the most part, the masses want more cool gadgets and they want them fast. Investors want Apple to produce even faster so they can keep the stock price soaring.

But this ad responded with a resounding “Be patient.” It told us why Apple is more concerned with quality than quantity, with how it makes you feel and how it enhances life than with simply how cool or functional it is. “If you are busy making everything, how can you perfect anything?”

Call me naive and claim it is merely the product of a very creative copywriting team (which I agree it certainly is!) but these kinds of ads contain the stuff of a corporate manifesto. I have never worked for Apple but to me, these are the mantras that filter down throughout an organization to become part of its DNA.

If we are able to pause and read carefully each line, there is a message that speaks beyond technology and goes directly to the heart of good design. I love good design. I wish I could create like some of the artists I work with. But to assist in bringing good design into a marketing piece or a website is a pretty awesome experience for me.

So what does this ad have to do with graphic design? How can it inspire you to better design and more creatively market the product or service you are promoting? I think that just as good product design takes time and careful thought, so does good graphic design.

I know time is often a luxury that only “successful” companies can afford. We are faced with constant deadlines that prevent this kind of careful thought. But what if we took even a few extra minutes to imagine: “Does this design enhance life? Does it make the intended audience feel something good?” True, it needs to sell a product or service. But could it do a better job of selling with even a bit more intention? I would love to see more examples of graphic design that is intended to enhance life.

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