The overburden of design in pursuit of attention

contrast crowd umbrella blueDesign is both a verb and noun, a process and a product. But in this writings I’ll be referring to the latter, whenever I mention the ‘d’ word.

In print, design regrettably exist in a static form. Which suggests that it does not enjoy the privilege of “moving pictures,” like animation and video do. Furthermore, It means that the very same static artwork must: attract attention and still get to present content to its intended audience.

With moving pictures its simple. Dedicate the first few frames to whatever you can use to grab attention, and then present what the motion was created to present, communicate or sell.

I find that a lot of graphic designers, art directors and the likes, overrate the need to use the most part of their canvas to attention seeking visual arrangements.

Designers sacrifice their artwork’s chance to communicate. All in the name of the consumers’ attention.

While a message is useless without someone to consume it. The consumer’s attention too, is futile without a concise and meaningful message.

The one thing that is rarely discussed or taken advantage of, is the artwork’s surroundings.

Regardless of context, the most efficient way to attract attention is to break a pattern. For example, If you are in a very quite place, any sound will be sufficient to attract your attention by breaking the pattern of silence.

So when designing a poster for a rock band, and the poster will be placed on a white wall. Why not just have a dark background for your poster instead of squeezing a thousand guitars, eight drumsticks, and seven guys with skinny jeans within the poor poster?

The attention that a print ad has to supposedly ‘fight’ for is overrated.

Attention is usually confused with interest. And what the design/er should prioritize is evoking interest, though the design/er has very little control over. No amount of great design will make a fourteen year old interested in an ad promoting nappies.

The failure to consider the surroundings, or medium on which the design will be fed to its audience, is the root of this overuse of attention seeking and meaningless visuals.

Contrast should not only be limited to the design itself, as the contrast between the design, as a collective, and its surrounding can get the job done with less clutter.

A fussy layout is a silly attempt to earn a designer’s keep.