18 February 2021

“What’s it for?” and other questions

What's it for?
Today, I am going to be a lazy blogger and mostly point to ideas in other people’s books.

In The Practice: Shipping Creative Work, Seth Godin returns to this question repeatedly:

“What’s it for?”

This is a great question to stop and ask yourself occasionally when designing something. It helps ensure that whatever you’re doing is deliberate (or intentional, as Godin puts it).

Those logos around the title? What are they for?

That abstract on the poster? What are they for?

Those acknowledgements at the end? What are they for?

If you can’t answer that, why is it on the poster?

Scott Berkun has another book that I want to read, How Design Makes the World, but haven’t yet. However, he just shared a blog post about how to look at designed things more critically. And, like Godin, Berkun has questions. Here are a few questions that got my attention and that I think are relevant for posters.

  • Is it clear what it does? Is easy to learn? Does it work reliably?
  • What message is its style sending to you?
  • Who is included or excluded from participating in using it?
  • What systems is this design a part of? Are those systems working well?
  • Does this design create flow or conflict?
But there are more! Check the full post for more.


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