The power of good design

May 4, 2009

A couple of videos I caught this weekend have really inspired me as to the power of great design.

First, I watched the documentary Art & Copy at Hot Docs on Friday. It’s a look at the world of advertising and focuses on some really amazing campaigns (notably Apple’s Think Different, Nike’s Just Do It and the classic Got Milk?) that went beyond advertising and branding to permeate the culture. Some of the key points I took away from it were that good products are conceptualized holistically from start to finish (apparently what really pushed advertising forward was the once radical idea of putting art and copy in the same room) and that consumers – people – react positively to good design, and are happy to be sold to if the process is entertaining and fun. People appreciate great work.

Then, while watching videos from TED yesterday, I came across this presentation by Polish newspaper designer Jacek Utko: Can design save the newspaper? His extreme redesigns of a number of newspapers in eastern Europe won him a number of awards and, more importantly, caused huge increases in readership. Watch it below (it’s only 6 minutes long) or click through to ted.com if you feel the need for that chunk of the right-hand side of the screen – though you can probably manage without it..

The lesson for magazines, both in print and online? Do your best work, design something amazing that you’re proud of, create an entertaining, informative and enjoyable reader experience, and the readership will follow.

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