And how does that make you feel?

Posted on by Laura Hamlyn

It should be at the top of your bulleted list. The bolded sentence in your brief. The "key takeaway" from your kick off meeting. The one thing the brand team agrees on:

Design should make you feel something.

There have been a lot of debates lately over what design should actually do (or be rewarded for doing). Of course, Steve Jobs' life and recent death reminded us all of the importance of giving design a seat in the boardroom. (And kinda late to the game Pepsi just added a Chief Design Officer to their staff, saying, "We firmly believe design and design thinking is a significant vector of innovation and therefore growth.") Pentagram's Paula Scher recently declared her disdain for Justified, AIGA's awards competition that rewards measured results instead of purely recognizing design (or using words like "beauty, creativity, surprise, innovation, and inspiration" in the description of the award).

I volunteer with several different non-profits, and we need design help from time to time. I am currently helping one of these groups revise their logo to better reflect who they are now, versus the logo they adopted during their origins as a sort of start-up. When you work with groups like this, it's important to remember that no one is getting paid, time is money and brand is something you have to beg, borrow or steal to make happen. I want to make sure the designer is treated as well (or better) as he would be at his day job. And I want to make sure the group's members understand the design process. So I tell them that a logo can't do everything. It can't answer most marketing questions. It can't describe the mission statement. It can only make people feel something. It can also provide a bit of meaning through context or concept.

Feeling vs. thinking

This post is very focused evoking emotion and feeling something. I also value strategy, collaboration and results. It's just that if you start off with cardboard, you have to add A LOT of sauce to make it edible. What is the point of design (and writing) if not to make you feel something? It is more fun to feel.

If I feel it, I will react. If I think too much about it, I might not.

I want to see more of this and this and this. Even this. (And this, which is the theme song for this blog post and is also almost NSFW, BTW. D'Angelo sure can make you feel something.)