I’m reading Michael Bierut’s 79 Short Essays on Design and thought this article was a good one – In Search of the Perfect Client. The part where he writes “Good design is good business? Maybe. More like, good design just…well looks better, for God’s sake” is one of my favorites. I like this because it makes practical sense – people like things that look better. “Looking better” though can be a pretty complicated thing; one might think it has a lot to do with aesthetics, but it is most dependent on what the thing/design/product communicates. An item that is designed well also communicates simply and elegantly what its function is, and integrates itself seamlessly with whatever else you may use the item for. Books, reports or reading materials that are designed well are easier to read, and emphasize the points they want the reader to remember. We can recognize the thought put into designed items many times by their look, but often it just comes across as “design” with an extra $. A design that communicates well is so subtle you can’t tell how it is affecting you, you just come to love it (things like ipods, the Olivetti typewriter mentioned in the book, or comics are good examples). So a perfect client doesn’t have to understand all this background of the design, he just has to trust the designer to do his or her job, make something thoughtful and functional, that also, well, looks better for God’s sake.
In Search of the Perfect Client