This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Design principles - developing an eye

Designers often talk about having "an eye" for things. That is simply the awareness of design. I've seen some of my students go through the process of developing an eye for design, and for them it was like stepping out of the darkness into the light for them. Pure magic.

Anyone can develop an eye for design and continue to refine it. In fact, you probably would be surprised at how many people who don't consider themselves designers already have "an eye". And that's a very good thing for Graphic Designers like me. If the average person couldn't appreciate good design, I would only be designing for other Graphic Designers!

My favorite example of good design that just about anyone can recognize is the Ford Mustang from 1964. Yeah, I've been using this example for a long time! The difference between a Ford Mustang and a Ford Falcon is design, or styling. They are both exactly the same car, even many of the parts are interchangeable. The chassis is the same, the engine is the same, the suspension is the same. The two cars are the same size, they have the same number of doors, same number of headlights, same number of wheels. But the Mustang sold better. And that's because the buying public recognized superior style. That's the power of design.

By the way, this is the Ford Falcon on the right. Didn't sell as well as the Mustang. Still a fine car, made by the same company with essentially the same parts.

If you would like to develop an eye for design, looking is how you do it. You won't learn it out of a book or listening to a teacher lecture. The bad news is that as your eye sharpens, you will be more tempted to buy the Mustang instead of the Falcon. If you can't see the difference, you could save money, but you would put designers (like me!) out of work.