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Take Off Those Designer Glasses


It’s difficult for me to not look at everything in my life from a designer’s viewpoint. We are surrounded by design in everything we interact with. Some design is mind blowing, some is ok, and others are irritating. I went to the grocery store today to pick up a few things, and couldn’t help noticing the van parked a few cars away from me. It was a portable pet valet? and on the side of it was a life-size cutout image of a man’s body with a dog’s head. He (it?) was wearing some sort of pet service uniform, standing next to the words, “Pet Valet.” Despite the fact that I really have no idea what pet valet is, I didn’t really care. I was way more distracted by the hideous half man/half dog thing that was slapped onto the side of the car. Was it their logo? WHY?? I almost took a photo of it, it was so bad, but decided against it. On the door of the truck was a Proverbs verse from the Bible…still trying to figure out what Jesus has to do with pets or vets or whatever these people were offering.

To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever seen good design on the side of a van, why is this? Do the companies with terrible branding buy vans? Is there a correlation I wonder…After recovering from the shock of this dog/man hybrid logo, I went into the store to and tried not to think about it. Later on, I realized that there is such a gap between people that see good design and people that don’t. While seeing good design requires practice and knowledge, I feel that this eye for design is somewhat innate in some. I sometimes look at terrible design and think, “Who thought this was a good idea? Was it a collective effort?” As someone that is learning about design, practices design, and has been an artist since childhood, I have to remember that there are lots of people who have no exposure to the art and/or design world. It is our job to not judge, but to be patient and help people see like we do. We don’t just design, we are strategists, problem solvers, and brand ambassadors. We have to take off our designer glasses every once in a while, and see what the other side is seeing. While it’s almost impossible, it’s helpful in understanding how non-designers/artists think about the world.