no mo logos [or “down with formats, up with people”]

Posted on by tyler galloway

embedded in many typical “design a logo for X” or “a magazine for Y” is the designerly conceit that prioritizes (fetishizes?) the thingness of the artifact over the need for humans to communicate particular content to certain other humans. if we are responsible and innovative designers, we will move beyond stuffing the need to communicate into a stock format, as profitable as that may be. yes, labels are a convenient shorthand, but they also conjure stereotypes and archetypes that limit what could be; something that bridges, is both/and, or transcends the notion of “logo”, “magazine”, or lord forbid, “mobile app”. this needn’t be rocket science. it can be as simple as refusing to name the thing you are designing until a verbal shorthand is demanded of you by others or it could be that you always describe it in terms of what is being communicated — the route-giver, the come-see-my-play thingie. you see, the information being communicated is before (takes priority over) the objectness of the thing, which still attempts to avoid pigeonholing. my intent is not to get into PC territory here, but this is not unlike prioritizing a quality/state over the person when discussing “homeless people” or a “mexican man”. they are humans first and maybe homelessness or mexican-ness is not how they choose to define themselves anyway. 

i don’t believe the world needs more logos, more magazines, more mobile apps or more posters but i do believe it needs things like a cross-cultural-civil-discoursinator or a collabo-dynama-edu-surface. i admit, creating those names was fun, but what’s way more fun is seeing what might result when you get people communicating in new and interesting ways through text and images, voice and motion and sound. 

to the point — if we take even one step back, we can begin to look at the people needing to communicate and the context in which they’re doing it. and if we focus on the details of that interaction and seek to facilitate it well, to connect those people meaningfully, we may just land on something new and interesting.