Design, as a thinking style, is starting to be recognised for its contribution to tackling today’s most complex problems. Its role may be even more important in the future, or the Future, that permanently fascinating horizon which occupies our dreams and fantasies. But not just in making the products and services of tomorrow.
For at least half a century, design has been seeking a seat at the high table. Its leaders, a motley bunch of academics, ‘visionaries’ and the odd forward-thinking practitioner, believe that design should have a greater influence in the public sphere. Why not a presence in government or at least on company boards?
Here’s the news from typography, for the world: little things can count for a lot.
In the logo and fashion design commentariat, much press has been devoted to the recent and clear trend of established, iconic fashion companies rebranding themselves with plain, sans-serif lettering, moving away from the classic forms of Roman, serif letters. A defection to an enemy country!
This truism is fundamental to branding—names elicit emotions such as trust, affection or happiness (Coca-Cola) and awe (Apple). Names like Apple and Pepsi may seem arbitrary, but they are pregnant with suggestion. A name greets the customer before he meets the product, and in the end it is the name that rides off alone into the sunset. So…
You see it everywhere, absolutely everywhere: rough-and-ready brush lettering or something like it. It’s proudly imperfect and knowingly naive. It’s bold and inkily raw; its voice can be raucous and assertive or tremulous and quivering. It’s on posters, packaging, banners and trademarks of food brands and political movements; on literary book covers, at conferences, and perhaps most of all as messages on social media.