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

How Smart Phones have brought back clean design

I'm an old school Graphic Designer. I mean really old school, as in the Bauhaus. I've always called that "Clean Design". Sharp edges, bold contrast, clear fonts. No foo-foo stuff, no decorative borders, nothing vague. I discovered this type of design when I studied Graphic Design at ASU, and embraced it. And because of that, I did corporate design, for big companies, and big money. In fact, the logo that I designed for my freelance company, which I did when I was 19, was supposed to look as if my company was a square block downtown, and wasn't just some skinny kid. And many people were surprised to find that it was just me. That's the logo there at the top of this blog, BHA, Brad Hall Art.

Of course, tastes change. And when I started teaching at the Art Institute of Phoenix in the late '90s, many of my students thought that "Clean Design" was just boring. And I have to admit that some of the new stuff was interesting, but ultimately, it was a mess. Some of my students tried to design like David Carson, and I quickly discovered that while his stuff was great, imitations of it were always awful. And then in the 21st Century it got worse.

I started teaching "The Art of Web Design" in 2001, before the invention of Dreamweaver, etc., and really there wasn't much to web pages back then. So the designs, while boring, were at least legible. And then web pages grew in complexity as computer screens got bigger and bigger. There were drop-down menus, and drop-drop down menus, and Flash animation, and snow would fall in the background of a webl page, and well, just a big mess. As a Graphic Designer I tried to discourage this horrible design for my students, but I'm afraid that I failed way too often.

Then Smart Phones came along and everything changed again. Back to Clean Design! Sharp edges, bold contrast, clear fonts. And web design is now influencing print design. To me, it looks great. How about that?