John Hockenberry makes the case that Design = Intent.
I have become increasingly interested in design over the past 10 years, to the point that I now avoid purchasing anything that is poorly designed and am willing to spend a significant margin more on items that are well designed. But not just because they're pretty or look cool. No, design is so much more than that. It's the way a device functions, not just the amount of things you can do with it. It's the efficiency of the materials, not just the cost of them.
I love seeing redisigns of common day items. I fell in love with this series of Boarding Pass Designs. The wallet sized card is one of my favorites:
This Bar Menu Before & After from NoteAndPoint.com also gets me excited and happy.
I wouldn't dare call myself a designer, but I do a bit of redesign and page layout for work. I posted previously about designing our Mission Statement posters and about the user experience of buffets (something I regrettably enjoy all too often at my office).
The idea of design being all about intent recently helped me while redesigning some classroom posters on behavior. We lost access to the original print, so my job was to reproduce it. The original (seen below) was a fairly wild design with many colors and fonts. Since I don't have the design skills to reproduce it exactly, I decided to simplify it and see if I could accomplish the same functionality without the distractions. Here is my attempt:
And a few of the design decisions I made:
- The word "Chart" does not need to be printed. It's obvious by looking at it that it is a chart.
- "What if…" doesn't need to be typed at the top of each column. Allow the "What if…" title to work with the column title.
- One font. Different weights, sizes, and styles. But just one.
- Two colors. Different values and opacities, but just two.
- Allow the whitespace between columns to be the dividing line. Remove the redundant dividing line.
- Lastly, and most relevant to this post, what was the intent of the Mystery Motivator envelope? It's a placeholder for the teacher to place behavioral motivator on the poster, likely a 3x5" card or similar piece of paper. The dashed border leaves it incomplete, encouraging the user to complete it by placing something there.
It's certainly not the best solution, but it's definitely cleaner than the original and may reduce symptoms of ADHD in the classroom. :-P