De sign

A coincidence I agree – but I walk past both of these signs on my way to work of a morning. Every time I walk past them, they bug me. Or at least they used to.

It stumped me when I first reflected on the difference between these two signs. The one that the kids made drew a lot more empathy from me – despite the fact that the second one was designed by an adult. The more I thought about this fact, the more it bothered me that the first example felt more successful.

The first sign made it immediately apparent to me that the kids who made the sign would be upset if some dork came past and stole their flowers; yet the second one made me wonder how interested in the garden the kids actually were. They had no apparent say in the creation of the sign after all, how much involvement did they therefore have in the creation of their garden?

Who knows – maybe the second sign was written by a 3 year old with amazing handwriting. I’m sure I’m over-analysing things here, but it’s what I do. And things often occur to me when I do so, so try to stay with me on this one.

Let’s assume that the second sign was made by an adult on behalf of some kids – just presented in a more legible way than the kids are capable of. As a designer, it was a rather uncomfortable feeling seeing the work of a few toddlers trump that of the ‘hired’ sign writer.

This was until I thought further about what made the kid’s sign more successful. The kid’s sign is speaking with their voice. The other example is a person speaking on behalf of the children, but with their adult voice. An elementary web design lesson was reaffirmed when I made that realisation: making a website by interpreting an interpretation of an initial brief will never evoke much feeling in the end user. It is only when we make an effort to channel a person’s initial reason for having a website that we can make something worthwhile.

Web design needs to find the best way to make a transparent connection between the client and the audience. The designer is responsible for making sure that this connection exists – not showing that they had a hand in the creation of said site. And try to avoid getting design briefs from toddlers if you can help it.

↬ Pamela for the photos :)

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