A Reflection on “The Vignelli Canon”

My digital storytelling course has made me read a little pamphlet about “design”. At first, I was afraid I would not like this pamphlet, since I was thinking it would use vague language to describe abstract concepts, or have a vocabulary I would need to be an art student to understand. As a side note, I have a friend who is in art school. He’s a really good artist. I did feel like I was missing the point to some of the topics that the pamphlet, but I did find I learned a few things about design.
The first part of the pamphlet had, what I felt, were design elements about “what” to put in your design. The topics I think I understood included Appropriateness, Ambiguity, and Visual Power. First Appropriateness. I think what the author was saying is that your design should be appropriate for the situation, or it was to show that there should be a purpose to your design. That’s what I took from it, anyway. The picture given was a view of a Christian church. I think the message from that is supposed to be that there needs to be a sort of sacredness in the design of the church because that is where it is appropriate. On ambiguity, it’s not supposed to ambiguity of purpose, I’d say, like it it uses vague words to be “deep”, but it’s ambiguity needs to be vague in terms of meaning, as in it is open to more than one interpretation. Finally, on Visual Power. I think this is using pictures to and scaling, and other factors to make a “strong” impression. the example given was big text saying BOOKS, then the article went on to talk about books, and the way the “Books” was printed gave a sort of sacredness and majesty to books in general, meaning that the person who did that wants us to think books are super important and special.
the second part of the pamphlet was all about “how” to design. It talked about font sizes, rulers, grids, and planning out books. I am a little familiar with these kinds of things because I took Adobe Indesign and Photoshop in high school in the same room where the Yearbook club was, so I kind of picked up on using grids and scale to prepare a book through osmosis. one of the more interesting things the pamphlet talked about was how we used aligned text. we use left-aligned text because it is easier for English speakers to read from left to right. We use center-aligned text for special occasions, like an invitation or an award. It also talked about how not to over complicate your design, about how you should not change a logo that has been in the public mind for a long time, just for the sake of change, and It talked about how just using the primary colors is sometimes the way to go. I enjoyed reading this pamphlet.

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