Episode #94
Amazing design

Amazing design doesn’t come around very often, but today I try to distil down what amazing design is.

Music and links from this episode

  1. Three kites circling by Axletree
  2. The Execution of a Liar by Steve Combs
  3. Three Generations by Greg Atkinson

Line-by-line notes

  1. INTRO
  2. Everywhere you turn,
  3. Our world is full of design
  4. It’s full of all sorts of design too
  5. Buildings, cars, signage, logos, designs on t-shirts, restaurant menus, phones, clothes
  6. Just everything
  7. We live in a world that’s completely designed by all of us
  8. Some of that design though
  9. Is bad
  10. Some of it is average
  11. But just sometimes, very occasionally
  12. It’s amazing
  13. In this episode I’m talking about the amazing design that surrounds us every day
  14. This is Ask a Designer Anything, and I’m Craig Burgess
  16. On our journey through amazing design
  17. Lets start in Britain
  18. Specifically, a typical British street right in the centre of a city
  20. It’s busy
  21. There’s people everywhere, just milling around, going about their day
  22. But there’s also lots of cars
  23. LOTS of cars
  24. And this is where we find our first piece of amazing design
  25. There’s road signs everywhere
  26. But in Britain, we have a beautifully standardised road signage system
  27. Everywhere you drive, from small back street road to the biggest motorway in the land
  28. The signs look the same
  29. Margaret Calvert (a typographer and graphic designer) along with her colleague Jock Kinneir (also a typographer and graphic designer who unfortunately died in 1994) designed a lot of the road signs in the UK
  30. Even better, they designed the excellent Transport font used on the signage
  31. AND the Rail Alphabet font used on the British railway system
  32. This is a perfect example of amazing design
  33. The signage system and typography that accompanies it just works
  34. And you wouldn’t think twice about as you go about your daily business
  35. But the reason you don’t think twice about it is because it’s been so carefully designed and considered
  36. Our trains in Britain might not run on time
  37. But the signage is stylish whilst we wait
  38. Let’s skip onto another few examples
  39. I want to talk about Coca Cola
  40. Not really to wax lyrical about Coca Cola’s logo
  41. Which I’m going to do anyway
  42. But to talk about another principle of amazing design: things that last
  43. In 1886 John S Pemberton finalised his formula for a new drink
  44. His partner, Frank M Robinson, suggested the name Coca-Cola
  45. His reason was typical marketing thinking: he thought the two Cs would look well together in advertising
  46. In 1887 the logo was created and trademarked
  47. And apart from a brief weirdness between 1890 and 1891, it’s stayed largely the same
  48. Of course, over the years it’s changed a bit
  49. Sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better
  50. But you can look back at the 1887 logo
  51. And the one in 2017
  52. That’s 130 years between the two logos by the way
  53. And see that it’s pretty much the same logo
  54. In this instance time was all that was needed to turn something from a good design into an amazing design
  55. And the Coca-Cola logo is a brilliant example of that
  56. Not to mention it’s a pretty legendary logo these days
  57. And it looks attractive as well
  58. It goes to show that if you stick out your logo
  59. And give it the chance to breathe and take a life of its own over the years
  60. You’ll end up with something pretty amazing at the end of it
  61. I really hope Coca-Cola keeps their logo for another 100 years
  62. Because they’ve nailed it with an amazing design
  63. And there’s just no reason to change it
  64. That’s the major difference between average design and amazing design
  65. Average design is transient, and never stands the test of time
  66. Amazing design lasts
  67. And amazing design is timeless
  68. That’s the real power of amazing design
  69. OUTRO 
  70. This was Ask a Designer Anything. I’m Craig Burgess.
  71. Music featured in this episode was Three kites circling by Axletree, The Execution of a Liar by Steve Combs, and Three Generations by Greg Atkinson
  72. For a line-by-line run down of this episode, go to askadesignernaything.com/ep94
  73. I’m back tomorrow for another episode of Ask a Designer Anything

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