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Design as a Universal Language

At one of my first reviews atMassArt  the first comment I got was, why did I pin-up my process the wrong way. You see I'm a native Hebrew speaker, I write from right to left, my starting point is the end of your process - or is it? My mother tongue is English so right away I knew what my reviewer had meant, and it made me smile.

I came to think about that review after listening this week to a great talk byOded Ezer . Aside from the mind blowing approach to typography, what was intriguing to me was the fact many of the examples Ezer brought were in Hebrew. At first, this was unsettling to me, the instinct being to try and translate it to the Americans in the audience. But once that feeling subsided what I came to realize was how amazing it was that we as humans can communicate through design regardless of what language we speak. If you ever picked up a design magazine in a foreign language, you'd still get the gist of it.

Design works with some of the most basic, and universal foundations, balance, color, light, texture. It is a powerful tool that at the wrong hands can be used to oppress people, as it was used in countries under the communist regime. And yet achieving the right mix of these elements require a process of trail and error, a conversation of sorts between these elements.

When something clicks in a space we "get it" feel happy and good. When something is wrong we feel uncomfortable and irritable (messy rooms are a good example). We owe it to ourselves to get better design around us, so we can become free of the visual assaults that create so much negative "noise" in spaces we use all the time.

Designers are translators of these basic elements into the world. Though universal the language of design is intricate, and like any other language requires rigorous practice. I doubt that you would solely trust business correspondence to Google translate, there is no reason why your office or home design be left at the hands of people without the proper language skills.


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