Quote Posts are thoughts and reflections that come to me when making quote images for social media. There is always a reason why a quote resonates with me, and I decided I wanted to share my observations with you. Many quotes are about design, but some are not, even if applicable to design and designers as well. Would love to hear what you think.

JOEL SPOLSKY: Design adds value faster than it adds costs

I have some problems swallowing this quote just like that. Why? Surely this is how things ought to be. Used in the right way and based on the values and needs of a business, it is beyond doubt correct that “Design adds value”. More than can be counted. Why, then, am I uncomfortable with this quote?

It’s because I see again and again that what businesses have purchased (expensively) as “design” – is nothing of the sort. It is not the expression of the business that is being conveyed, but that of the designer.

The fact that something “looks good” does not mean that it communicates accurately on behalf of a business or an entrepreneur. I often ask what is the difference between a graphic designer and an artist? Both use the same abilities and tools; visual means, creativity and solid craftmanship based on long traditions. The difference is: no work of art will ever embark on correction loops. Art communicates solely on the behalf of the artist himself. Graphic Designers are visual communicators on behalf of others. 

When I see “Brand Books”, “Graphic Profile Manuals” and what they may be called, where time and creativity have been waisted to “showcase” the profile on touchpoints where it most realistically will ever be used, utilizing so-called “Mock-Ups” which can be purchased on Stock Photo bases, while the employees in the company scratch their heads trying to make sense of a Powerpoint Template, I have to conclude: All that glitters is not gold.

What glitters, however, is when design (which really means PLAN) is being used as a tool to shape up a message in a clear, authentic and professional manner, so it will carry the voice of the sender visually to the people she wants to help.

Then Design adds value and the quote is correct.