Design Is Pointless…


Did the Art Director just say that design is pointless? Yes. Yes he did. But it comes with one big asterisk. Let me explain.

I was one of those lucky kids who stumbled into a college major that he loved and never looked back. Design was this incredible thing where I could make things look really cool and actually help people reach their goals in their own businesses. And I didn’t have to worry about losing interest in a particular industry, because I could work for every industry. Everyone needs design!

Throughout the years, I started to notice that great design had a very clear differentiator from the not-so-great design. The good stuff didn’t only look good, it truly helped tell the story of what it was designed for.

This really hit me when I was walking the racks of a Hastings Book Store and came across two Books about Jeff Gordon. Both were biographies and both had a similar layout, a photo of Mr. Gordon with his name typed above. And though there is an age difference in the covers that sure doesn’t help (Design has come a long way in the past decade), the new cover was just better. But why?

Designing A Better Jeff Gordon

If he were dressed in a typical collared shirt in these two photos, you might think in the old cover that Jeff is a model, maybe an easy listening musician. The typography at the top seems like it belongs on a book of hairstyles, not a book discussing the life of a NASCAR great. It’s wimpy and thin, whereas the new cover, you still may not know that he is a famous racecar driver, but you get the feeling he does something a bit more macho, heroic even.

A not-so-heroic photo of Jeff GordonA heroic photo of Jeff Gordon

Which brings me to that asterisk I mentioned earlier. Design is pointless when it disregards its purpose. Design should have a goal. Design should have concept and reason behind it. Sure, sometimes things just need to look good, but design has a job to do! If the story behind the design is disregarded, the design becomes pointless. In the example above, the designer disregarded that Jeff races cars, and the result was something that readers will likely easily pass by.

At 502, we like to say that We help grow midwest brands through the power of story. We help clients find their story and use that story as a barometer for everything we make, whether it’s the color and typography, the music behind a video, or hover effects on a website.

If you aren’t using your story to help your marketing, or if you don’t think you have a story at all, you’re missing out! We never charge to chat, so give us a call and we will help you get there.


Jordan Seirer
About Jordan Seirer

Jordan is a positive force who leaves a trail of awesome wherever he goes. Always studying. Always improving. Always designing with a smile... Learn more