Design is an activity that consists of transforming ideas into graphic-visual elements, of transforming abstract things into material ones. That is the reason why it is highly important that the client is clear when expressing his ideas so as to achieve a good design work. The designer will not be able to provide the client with what he wants, if the client cannot correctly express it. On the other hand, the designer is, as we have mentioned, the one in charge of converting ideas into visual elements and NOT the one in charge of creating them. It is the client’s job to come up with ideas; the designer can suggests or change things but HE IS NOT THE ONE IN CHARGE OF offering a design you like from a simple indication as «I want something like this». However, we will not focus on this since this will be later discussed in the section called Relationship with the designer.
Design’s work is the creation of signs. A sign is a material element that indicates, makes reference to and directs some concept. Let’s explain this. Some people may say that a sign not always makes reference to a concept but many times it makes reference to an object. That is to say, some may say that it is true that a sign makes reference to a concept in some cases —as it may be a smiling face to indicate happiness— but that in others it makes reference to an object, such as the sign of a telephone in a telephone booth. In both cases, it may seem that the sign makes reference to different things, but it is not the case. Both the smiling face and the telephone are making reference to a concept. That is to say, the sign makes reference to the IDEA or CONCEPT of happiness in the first example and the IDEA or CONCEPT of a telephone in the second case. It has nothing to do with the fact that one indicates an abstract noun or a mood state and the other a material object, since it always points out the concept, not the object. Why? It is simple, the telephone sign does not indicate that there is a certain type of telephone in there but it states «there are devices that fall into that category». The same happens with words —the word «house» is not a house, there is nothing in the word itself that explains why that word corresponds to house and it does not make reference to a specific house either, but to the concept of house we all have.
Thus, design’s work is to create signs for the client’s ideas, material things that indicate concepts such as security, trust, responsibility and all concepts which a company wants to identify with. Of course, there is usually a sign for traditional business concepts. In this case, the designer will create a NEW sign for the same concept. However, as the indication of a sign is something conventional —for example the word «house» does not correspond to a house, but we all take it as such—, the designer will not be able to completely leave aside the signs’ appearance of which he tries to differentiate from. Thus, the designer must find a balance so that the created sign is different enough as to correctly and distinctly represent the company, and similar enough so that consumers can understand what it makes reference to.
As an example, in the case a Logo transmits the idea of trust, the designer must create a distinct Logo for the company that hires him but similar to other Logos that transmit the same concept, so that the public can associate the sign to the concept of trust. All this has to do with a semantic issue that is not worth explaining further on. However, we believe that what has been mentioned can help you think of a better design plan.
The technical aspect of the design’s work, and especially of Web Design, corresponds to the designer’s ability to use Web design programs. First, graphic design programs used to create the site’s appearance. Then, you can use image editors to improve photographs or any other image that the site uses. Depending on the case, you can also use a text editor to modify the verbal content. Finally, beyond the design’s work, you use programming programs to translate the design into HTML or into any other programming language. Within the basic Web design programs we can point out the one aimed at creating animated features for the site. These programs can be used either to create an animated feature or to add little and sophisticated details to the site’s esthetics.
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