The truism is that ‘nothing worth having comes easy’ and yet, we are conditioned to always want the best and the most by the easiest and the quickest path.
Our smacking new Kuala Lumpur logo that allegedly cost RM15,000 amassed a turbulence of scornful criticism on the Internet. What happened? One second, the average Malaysian would not consider paying respectable wages to creatives because “Apologies, there is no formula to calculate ROI with design.” Next second, almost every Tom, Dick, and Harry had a satirical version of the KL logo in their very own mocking texts.
If Malaysians are seriously becoming discerning of what good design is and its worth, that is music to our ears! (So it should to yours.)
Over the years, the quality of buatan Malaysia in general has been consequently conflicted and like all non communicated differences, the creative scene of Malaysia is compromised at the expense of resources and time. Production wastage is high and the struggle to communicate limitations with clients over and over again is real. Now, think of all that we can create with the resources and time rescued from being spent on counterproductive disputes…!
As far as we are aware of it, the relationships between clients and designers and manufacturers have been remote to the point that ideas would get so far lost in translation, they rarely see daylight.
What is design versus good design? ‘Design’ could mean differently to different parties, but ‘good design’ has proved to be one that can stand against the limitations of all parties involved; It has to be affordable for the clients’ budget, it has to be tastefully designed to meet both expectations of clients as well as potential of material used (format, in KL logo’s case), and it has to be manufactured to showcase material’s best curves and edges.
In essence, good design –start to finish– should be pivoted on translating the brand message with most ease to recipients while upholding both form and function. That, is vast effort.
We know it firsthand here at The Alphabet Press. While formally trained and professionally traded as web designers prior, we are now in the business of print manufacturing. Combining the perspectives of designers and manufacturers, it has given us immense insight that bring clients much closer to ‘good design’ with every project.
There is always a warm glow when we reflect on all the limitations that we have overcome given the shift in perspectives. We look forward to new walls to break down with others in the industry.
Only with conversations, will we be able to understand each process more thoroughly and learn to appreciate the effort that wholly goes into creating good design.
Rome was not built in a day, and neither would the culture of good design, but it does require us to lay the bricks where it is best designed to be.