Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Subject to Change: Let Us Now Praise Good Design

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Subject to Change: Let Us Now Praise Good Design

Article excerpt

Good design is the difference maker, the foundation of modern commerce, the critical link between perception of quality and the decision to buy goods or services. With the right silhouette, consumers often are able to sift out the well-done ideas from the half-baked. The right packaging solicits greater commitment of our personal time, from online reading to the choosing of bed linens. It's the case of the nattily dressed man; his personal care, style, and grooming are an offer to become friends.

Yes, I am saying exactly that: Judge the book by its cover.

Seasoned art directors can look at a page or a billboard or a packaged good and in brief moment determine its flaws, from image placement to the mixing and unifying of copy. Typography junkies can talk for an hour about the merits of Gil Sans versus Trade Gothic. Filmmaker Gary Hustwit dedicated a whole movie to the ubiquitous Helvetica and was met with documentary success, a theatrical release.

I believe that a gorgeous letterhead can get you that dream interview, that a perfect invitation will determine the tenor and success of a party, and that the look of a business card can determine its fate (corner of the desk or bottom of the trash). For lovers of everyday design (consciously or not so), a sleek keyboard or a perfectly appointed chair can assist output and productivity.

Like any place, Oklahoma has no shortage of snappy and intelligent design and, indeed, a senseless array of meaningless signage and installation, what my close colleague and local design hero Steven Walker and I have come to call howlers, typographic ineptitudes and overall errancy ("howlers" is a recent term we read in a New York Times article about font flaws). "It's not proper," Steven will say simply.

Because they merit shout-outs, these companies and operations are doing excellent work of elevating Oklahoma's design standards. In some cases, I know the art director, often I'm just a satisfied audience. Here, I've noted six local design statements that should stand the test of time.

* Schlegel Bicycles: Steve Schlegel in Automobile Alley knows a thing or two about the two-ped. …

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