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The designer in all of us

We're all designers. More or less.

There are many stages of creativity when designing things. From brief to execution, the mind goes through lots of different processes. Don't get me wrong, it's not a dark art or something that nobody else can do except for 'precious designers'. Far from it. Everyone does it. Some things in the process are a bit more complicted - like concepting, but in this particular example, I'm not on about coming up with the concept. Those musings will be for another blog. I'm just thinking about the seemingly simple act of placing things onto a page and making them look nice. I'll use the term 'page' to represent a blank canvas. In old money, it could have been a full page ad in a newspaper or magazine. Now, it's more likely to be a digital format, but whatever it is, it's exactly the same principle. So, how are you going to fill that space to give it the best chance of showing off the subject? This is how I compare it to an everyday task that you will have done yourself at some point in your life.

You move into a new house. After the initial stress of actually getting in there, you settle down on the first evening amid the many boxes with marker pen prompts on the outside telling you which room they should be carried to and open a bottle of something and tuck into your first meal. No doubt a takeaway. Then comes the task of unpacking. And the living room is first. In fact, the main wall in the living room is first. By the main wall, I mean the one that is usually where the fireplace is. This is the one that is the focus of the room. The one that people will notice first. So how do you decorate it? It needs impact. It has to show you off at your best. It's about reflecting you and your personality. And this is where you go through the same process as a designer crafting an ad, a brochure, a web page, a button, a banner, in fact - anything.

What do you hang there? Is it just one picture? If so, is it a bigger statement if the picture is a huge one. Is that what will get noticed? Or is it better to use the negative space and simply place a tiny picture right in the centre of the wall so that all the space around it focuses your eye on that one small image? Perhaps you take two or three identically sized frames and geometrically position them so that they are uniform and linear. Perhaps, you've got 20 or so frames - all different sizes and styles and you decide to hang them randomly. Whatever you decide to do is entirely up to you.

The beauty of this is that there's no right and wrong. The decision is entirely up to you. Of course, if you share the house with a partner or friend, you'll chat about it and decide what's best, but ultimately, it's subjective. And that is exactly what a designer goes through. Do we use a huge image on the 'page' or a small one? Lots of images? Lots of words? One word? No words? It's a decision we make to give it the best chance of showing off the subject. Of course, in this case, our partner or friend that we're sharing the space with is the client.

So, there you have it. It's not necessarily what you put in, it's just as important what you leave out. Just because you've paid for a 'full page', it doesn't mean that you have to fill it with 'ink'. Anyway, enough of all this. I'm off to decorate another living room. What a great job!

Author: Chris Bennett
Date published: 15.08.2014

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