I went to see Ian Anderson give a talk last night. Ian was the man behind Designers Republic, one of the stand-out graphic design agencies of the last three decades. He still is, even if DR aren’t as mighty as they used to be.
He said a lot of things, but this simple one stood out. Don’t listen to people who tell you that ‘less is more’. Less is not more. We know what people mean when they say that, but it’s bollocks really, isn’t it? Less is less and more is more. The clue is in the words, you see?
We designers bang on about purity of message and clarity of communication. That’s not always the appropriate response, so don’t make it your default.
I read a piece by Bethany Heck this morning on The Value of Multi-Typeface Design that slotted in nicely on the same subject. Bethany argues against the hegemonic belief that you should only use two or three typefaces in any one piece of design. That’s clearly bollocks anyway, but she argues well on why it’s wrong.
In the middle of that article, Bethany accidentally explains the very core of editorial design:
“Your job as a designer isn’t just to mindlessly style what’s been given to you. You need to find the life in the content and bend it to your will. … become an expert in the subject you are working on, put yourself in the audience’s shoes and help them find the best bits of content. That’s the mark of a real designer.”