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Does This Information Make Me Look Fat?

Posted @ 1:16 pm by Adam Brill | Category: Digital Marketing, SolutionSet, Web Development Process | 0 Comments

I have found the best definition of graphic design is: a visual communication that combines images, words, and ideas to convey information to an audience. So in a nutshell, my job as a graphic designer is to organize someone else’s information and make it attractive and enticing. At SolutionSet I mostly design for the World-Wide-Web or, as it is sometimes called, “The Information Superhighway.” The Internet allows us to stack layers upon layers of information and access this information anywhere and anytime; the list of things we can do with information on the web is endless.

Recently I read the book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell. This book takes a deeper look at how we use the information that we pull in from all around us to make decisions. The author is particularly interested in an idea he calls “thin-slicing.” Thin-slicing is the ability of our unconscious to make rapid decisions in a situation solely based on a very narrow ‘slice’ of that given situation. Gladwell states that in certain situations the judgments we make in a couple of seconds can be as good as or as reliable as those we reach after careful deliberation. He gives numerous examples through experiments and life stories where people made a decision based on tons of information or very minimal information. The results were very counterintuitive in a lot of these situations. He is not making a general statement regarding all cases, but in certain instances thin-slicing was more accurate because too much information can actually get in the way of making a decision.

It started me thinking on how this applies to the communication of information through design, especially when trying to introduce a brand on the web. The web gives us the ability to offer up buckets and buckets of information, and — in most cases — the more information we have, the better decision we can make. Is this correct in all situations, though? I’d have to say no. A brand is strongest when it can cause an emotional reaction as well as appeal to us analytically, especially if you are trying to start a relationship between a brand and a user. But, since the viewer may have only a few seconds before they click onto the next website, you must grab the viewer quickly on a gut level and entice him/her further into your brand. Then you can appeal to them on a more analytical level and offer more information about your brand. In order to grab the viewer at that emotional gut level, the designer must use the most simplified – yet specific communication that is based off their core understanding of the brand.

A brand is a balance of information and emotional understanding, and this is where I have found SolutionSet’s strength. We are a group of dreamers and a group of realists. We are a group of people who think in code and a group of people who think of how colors and typography can change mood. This dynamic of opposites allows for a balanced solution to a given design problem. We know when to trim the fat and when to fatten it up, and it shows in our designs.

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