Detail is important

In my last blog entry I mentioned that I had recently been commissioned to audit the brand identity of an organisation. In my design proposal, which is now being implemented, I cast a critical eye over all of their material and put forth a constructive series of creative proposals to improve things. It is the grander gestures that are most noticeable; using great photography instead of nasty clip art, or being consistent with a restrained colour palette instead of using everything in the Pantone book.

It is however the smaller things that can make all the difference, these are the things that make me feel the job has really been done properly. When designers are critical of design it is rarely about anything as simple as “I just don’t like it” or the perennial “that colour reminds me of Brand X so shouldn’t be used”. Any good graphic designer by nature has an eye for detail and cares about the small stuff as much as the big.

With the recent job I was referring to, the organisation has been established for well over 100 years, so I wanted to suggest the use of a classic, yet timeless font with appropriate gravitas. People of course have differing opinions about fonts but I opted for Garamond. Those who know me, will know that this is also the second name of my dog, Ruby! More importantly, Garamond is also a font for which there is a full character set which includes lovely ligatures. I like ligatures, I like them a lot, which is why I called them lovely. That’s not their real name.

Look at the close up above and notice how the ffi in the word Office elegantly flows. The two uses of the lowercase f neatly rest together and the little dot in the lowercase i settles perfectly into the f before it, instead of awkwardly bumping up against it (this is called a terminal for fact fans) and is a joy to behold. Typography is a dying art and I don’t always get it right myself. Being a designer that trained just before the Apple Macintosh revolutionised the industry, I learned using metal type and it is this discipline that gave me a trained eye and obsession to detail.

Do people care about things like this anymore? Possibly not, but the fact that I do is why I think I’m good at what I do, and I enjoy caring on behalf of my clients – even if they don’t notice!

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