A common design language
Recently I've gone through the process of changing the identity of my personal website—Love Minus Zero Project.
Love Minus Zero Project started as just that; a project that was completed during my Master of Communication Design and from there I have wanted to hold onto this name for future applications. Hence my personal website goes by this name.
Through the process of changing the identity for this website the intention was to simplify the identity of Love Minus Zero. To keep Love Minus Zero to advertise my name concurrently. The simplest way to do this, was to create a monogrammed design for Love Minus Zero or (LZ). After creating different iterations it was released. The identity was something that I was aesthetically happy with and functioned the way that I needed it to. To be simple enough to show my work without looking like a studio named Love Minus Zero and through this strategy setting the parameters of a design language.
After launching the new look I began to see other designs through social media that were of a common language. That a common design language or common vinacular was entrenched in what I do and this an undiscovered realisation for me. There is power in this—in design. The wheel doesn't always need to be reinvented rather it can be an agent for something more. Vignelli states that he used (generally) six typefaces; Garamond (1532), Bodoni (1788), Century Expanded (1900), Futura (1930), Times Roman (1931) and Helvetica (1957). He occasionally used others but the point is that with these set parameters as a foundation design has the means and infrastructure to convey so much more.
A common design language creates an established communication with the audience. An almost nostalgic visual language to identify and find comfort in. It turns out that this is not a groundbreaking realisation—in fact Richard Loewy the French/American Industrial Designer (design polymath) who abbreviated this complex microsystem into MAYA: Most Advanced Yet Achievable. Meaning that design needs to be as ambitious as it can be though without being achievable the common language is lost. To give a simple example, in Australia the exercise/leisure gear behemoth keeps gathering further momentum. Queue Ivy Park... Where the trend began when celebrities (a common visual language) started wearing exercise gear between there exercise routines though it probably goes back to exercise gear being popular in the 80's (nostalgic common language). I'm not proclaiming to be an expert in this phenomenon though from here it has morphed into a multi billion dollar industry and crossed over into haute couture. Though most interestingly is that it has evolved from a common vernacular that people are comfortable with.
I believe that design demands to be beautiful. Aesthetics is king in a society dominated by banality. Though this understanding of MAYA means that design can be so much more than just aesthetically pleasing. It can be an agent of change. What happens if we just used Helvetica? Would we spend less time on font family selections* and more time on creating strategy and design through communication of exhilarating ideas. Lets embrace a common language and lets make it the most advanced.