Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Design and Writing

I’m such a sucker for beautiful design. I got an email full of links to great designers today, and I have to share Dan Cosgrove….zowee! Gorgeous, old-fashioned poster artwork, and other vibrantly colored illustrations. (Link at bottom)

Good design is so important. It frames a document, sets it, positions it. Design extends its definition to the layout of elements, color, and concept. Design can also be discussed without color or graphical elements—it’s very much present in writing. Modern novels follow a show-don’t-tell design; novels of our yesteryears follow a different design: tell-don’t-show. Design guides the reader without him or her even knowing it, which is why design is often overlooked as an element. People who don’t know anything about design tend to want to clutter it up, failing lavishly to understand that clean, simple, and unencumbered design is stronger.

When I first joined my writing group, someone said to me that my writing was simple and clear, and that was good. I didn’t agree entirely that it was good—what did he mean; was I too simple? Not enough nuance? Not enough pithy prose, the kind that makes you go “ooooh”? (Probably he did mean this, a bit). I’d like to say it’s because I favor clear design but that would be a patent lie—I’m still working on my wordsmithy skills, that’s all. My dad, who is one of those people who comes up with arrangements of unique words that absolutely thrill you to read, once said that he thought I did the same—I put together words in a neat way that he’d never thought of. That was high praise considering what he can do. I was recently reading a Thomas Cook guide to the Greek Islands and the writer of that guide was extremely excellent—his adjectives were not overwhelming, but rather perfectly appointed in frontal lobe-pleasing ways. Perfect design. The INTERN is also one of those who does this well; I feel that if you read her blog you will agree. For fox sake, she throws out words like Quetzalcoatl. She is perfection.

Check it:
http://www.cosgrovedesign.com/

I love this old-fashioned, properly painted stuff. In particular, I love his unique perspectives, like this one from the Golden Gate Bridge:
http://www.cosgrovedesign.com/PAGES/illustration4.html

2 comments:

CKHB said...

That Golden Gate image is mind-blowingly awesome.

Sierra said...

Isn't it? And did you see the upside-down airplane one? It's a nice reminder to change up your perspective now and then.

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