Design is everywhere. It’s part of our everyday lives, part of everything we do and touch, and it has a power of which most of us are unaware. Design can shape opinion, guide principles, and evoke action or emotion. It can connect you to history, communities, news, and ideas. And, sometimes it’s just for pure enjoyment. But, each day, in many forms, it’s out there doing a hard job and it is rarely celebrated or recognized.
On April 27, we celebrate World Communication Design Day. Founded by the International Council of Design, it’s an opportunity to recognize the value of design and its ability to change our world. While there is a lot out there to admire, I want to share some of the pieces that have had an impact on my life. From simplicity, to cleverness, to heart pounding emotion, the work below is a treat, so enjoy!
The New Yorker Covers
Bob Staake for the New Yorker Jack Hunter for the New Yorker
The New Yorker is known for its creative covers. While there are too many standouts to name, these two fairly recent covers come to mind when I think about visual communication connecting people and informing communities. I think what is so memorable about these two is that they both feature very recognizable things (the rainbow colors and Bert and Ernie) placed in unexpected environments in a very powerful and clever way.
World Wildlife Fund Campaign
Ogilvy for World Wildlife Fund
The advertisement campaigns from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are responsible for making me aware of the truth about life on our planet. Some of the adverts can be uncomfortable, but that’s the point. If you’re uncomfortable about something, you may want to change it. Whether that was their main goal or not, their website says they are committed to protecting the future of nature and I think we should join them.
The Great Gatsby book cover (artwork by Aled Lewis)
While the last two examples are emotional and pull at the heartstrings, this next one falls into the clever and pure enjoyment category. My love for typography runs deep and always has, I was struck by this book cover design when I first saw, it, and it’s stayed with me ever since. I appreciate imagery, but I believe some of the strongest effects are gained when type is used AS the image. How clever was this designer to turn the “Y” into a martini glass? Do you see it?
Want more visual stimulation?
Each of these logos has a story to tell if you look a little closer.
FedEx: The arrow nested in between the E and x.
Amazon: They have everything from A to Z.
Bronx Zoo: Notice the skylines of buildings that make up the giraffe’s legs.
I could go on for days here, but you’re probably at work and if you’ve reached this point in my story, I’ve used up more of your time than you’d hoped. But in my opinion, it’s time spent for a good cause. Design is an enormous and extremely rich subject with a long history of changing the world.
The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) has a curated a stunning collection of influential work from the last 100 years. So, when you have more time, visit, look closely, and celebrate design.