It can be useful to know if your business’s visual image is having a good performance. I want to show you one path to analyze the design and visual communication of your company.
With this information, you can have better elements to evaluate how your business is doing on this subject, and going beyond an “I like it” or “I don’t like it”.
Maybe you’re not familiar with the visual design world, which is fine. This article is for you.
Design, particularly visual communication, can be separated into three dimensions, these three elements are Form, Function, and Meaning.
The three dimensions can be analyzed individually, but only when they are viewed together as a unit, you know if the message is being transmitted correctly.
All three are fully involved in the graphic design, either a logo, a poster, a web page, etc.
You may have read about these three elements in another article about the purpose of the design, but now I want to make it a little more detailed.
This time I will use the following image to illustrate each of the divisions. It is simple, neutral, and easy to understand. I’ll start with the Meaning.
In the case of the image above. What’s the meaning? It’s simple, a clock. But it will also depend on the context. It can be an alarm if it suddenly appears on your phone’s screen. Or, if you are filling out a form, you’ll know it might ask for the time of an appointment. If it is on the top menu of your computer it will tell you the exact time.
One purpose of design is to communicate, therefore, each design piece communicates something, either deliberately or involuntarily.
A logo, a page, a catalog, or an icon, to give just a few examples, says something beyond any word it may contain. This is the meaning of the design piece.
You can analyze your company’s logo. What’s it communicating?
The question isn’t what do you think it communicates? It’s what message is receiving the audience you want to address. It is common to think our own logo represents something, but for the customers and public, it means something very different.
It refers to the body, it is the mechanisms by which meaning is expressed. It can be the figures, sizes, lines, points, textures, colors, typographies, etc. used to communicate the message.
The meaning depends entirely on the form, just as the form should depend on the function. And I said it “should” because many times it’s not like that. I will explain this later.
A larger or smaller line, or a position change, can be enough to give the wrong message. Let’s go back to the sample image. Is it really a clock or is it just a circle with two lines? How would the message change if we changed the form?
In these images, the ingredients are the same but with small variations, the message is completely different from the original.
Again, think about your company’s logo. If something changes in the form, could we improve how the message is expressed?
This is the part where you can analyze how the form works to communicate the message on almost any occasion. The function is to plan and control how and in what situations the design is used.
Function influences the form. For example, if a logo looks good on business cards but does not work on the phone screen, then you have to modify the form to meet the function. I see this issue in some companies’ social network profiles where the logo doesn’t work as spected on screens.
In the case of web pages and mobile apps, we call usability a part of the function. Have you ever been on a website very nice looking, but you don’t know how it works or how to find the information you want? If so, you have experienced how the form gets dull due to poor function performance.
This is one reason why is important having a branding manual for your company.
Once again the image of the clock. It works perfectly as an icon and since it is well done, it will look fine in almost any situation. But how about some extreme examples, a logo is placed on an inadequate background or the with the wrong colors. The function is no accomplished.
Also, it’s important to say the purpose of a design is considerably related to the function: Designing the cover of a children’s book is not the same as designing the interior signage of a hospital.
It is common to think about design just as the form, but as you can see it is not so. Visual communication involves more than good-looking drawings.
Share your comments. Was this article helpful to you to evaluate the visual presentation of your business?
Your logo and your website are the face of your business. Thinking about design is not thinking only on lines, shapes or colors; is to think about showing you are professional, reliable and likable.
When the time comes and you need a designer, send me a message. I will be glad to assist.