Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The design police

Design is everywhere these days. It’s got to be the Apple effect: they’ve definitely pushed design into the public consciousness, and now we’re stuck listening to these insufferable design-nerds anytime any website or software is updated anywhere, no matter how inconsequential the change. Perhaps it’s ironic that Apple itself is the target of most of this design-related hate-babble, with literally every aspect of their software being the subject of endless rants about stuff like kerning and “icon balance” and other stuff nobody cares about.

You know the real issue here? Apple already has great design. Design-police people: please turn your attention to the rest of us! We need you over here! Could iOS7 use slightly less transparency here or there? Maybe. But have you looked at the upenn.edu website anytime lately? Especially the functional parts that us members of the university have to use almost daily? Or our fancy new Concur expense reporting system that borders on useless? Trust me, there’s tons to do because practically the rest of the world needs a design overhaul. I wish the world I worked in most of the time was even remotely as well designed as iOS7 (or frankly, iOS1). And perhaps you could train us on figure making while you’re at it?

By the way, I should say that I do actually appreciate good design, despite it all (and I think iOS7 is actually pretty great). One of my favorite movies on the topic is Helvetica, about, you know, the font. Basically a bunch of design guys getting on there talking about how Helvetica is overused and boring and bad. One of my favorite parts of the movie, though, is when they interview these two design guys and one says something like: “Look, just make your text in Helvetica Bold and it will look good.” Amen.

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