Rob Roy Kelly_This & That_insights on selected topics










Big Picture

Seeing often has more to do with understanding than it does with observing.

In the visual idiom, understatement is more powerful than overstatement.

Those who understand visual language often make those who do not to feel insecure.

Perceptual and conceptual are interdependent—one without the other leads to transitory or vacuous imagery.

Graphic design, as with language, can reflect intelligence or ignorance. Good typography and design reflect intelligence; poor typography and design reflect ignorance.

To look and not see the illusion of space or form, nor recognize the elegance of shape or to distinguish the quality of line is a form of illiteracy.

Typography is the visual translation of verbal communication. Traditionally, function and technological limitation have dictated style. With computers, typography has become movement, color, texture or shape, and too often communication has become subservient to decoration or cleverness.

There is nothing wrong with using type or letterform as design elements as long as the communication remains intact and clear.

Typography from the past was conceived within parameters dictated by technical limitations, and the finest examples from the past reflect typography as the “art of the minimum.” Today, most of the traditional limitations are removed and “art of the minimum” has become the “forgotten art.”

Difference for the sake of being different, cleverness or novelty are not to be confused with creativity.

If design is judged by how it meets its objectives, in advertising, any design that sells is therefore good design. Graphic design is based in problem solving and visual communication; advertising is based in market research and sales. Objectives and values between the two are substantially different.

Whenever someone tells me that the Bauhaus is out of date, I always know that I am dealing with an individual who never understood the Bauhaus. To understand the Bauhaus you must be able to separate philosophy from product.

In graphic design, conceptualism, intellectualism or technology can never be substituted for a visual education. Visual acuity is the platform upon which design practice in communication, problem solving or technology are superimposed.