An Event Apart: Good Design Ain’t Easy

by Luke Wroblewski June 22, 2008

Jason Santa Maria’s Good Design Ain’t Easy talk at An Event Apart 2008 argued for deeper graphic resonance in the presentation of content online.

  • We are trained to look for stories within images. These images have a huge impact on how we interpret content.
  • Graphic resonance can be used to control how the story unfolds. It helps set the mood.
  • Information visualizations can tell dramatic stories as well –Tufte march to Moscow diagram
  • Wired magazine sets the tone for stories in its printed version through layout and typography. When these stories are moved online, we loose the impression that design was able to create on us.
  • We have distilled stories into content online. They lack the impact of printed materials.
  • “Design can’t not communicate.” –David Carson
  • Why are there no landmark Web designs? The Nature of the Medium may be to blame.
  • Constraints of a page exist in print: width & length. Pages can extend infinitely on Web. But are only seen through size of browser window.
  • Large size of Web page gives you license to talk –add lots of stuff. Entire structure of book: cover, contents, copyright often ends up needing to be included on single page.
  • The design of printed pages can’t change. Web pages can be re-structured by fonts, colors, etc.
  • Collections of Pages: by looking at book, we can get a sense of scale. We are missing that online.
  • Layout: missing ability to exploit ratios like golden ratio because of layout capabilities. We can’t rely on fixed dimensions online. Perhaps width but even then not certain.
  • It’s not possible to look at designs online through the lens of print. We can’t compare the two in the same way.