What makes a good design?

When it comes to shirts, newsletters, magazines and who knows what else, all we want to see are good designs. Nice ones… Works which capture our eye, our attention. Works which are worth our very precious praises.

And when those works do not meet our expectations, we seem to be in an illusion. We pull back all encouragement. We say things without even knowing how much time, effort and sacrifices those works took the creator.

Wait a minute. What is a good design?

Does a good design mean:

1. Cut and paste?

A designer takes another designer’s work, and copies it onto his own work. Okay, maybe add in some words with fonts that suits that piece of work… Edits and crops here and there… Or even, doesn’t do anything at all, straight away copying it onto his work… And ta-da! His work is done!


I forgot to mention, 80% of his work actually isn’t his.

Well, the good thing is, when he displays his work, viewers all around gather applauding of his creativity. Yes, they like his work. But they fail to realise that it wasn’t his work per say.

2. Much effort?

After a designer is given a task, he thinks through what elements should be used in his work. He knows that it is fairly significant for each element to fit into the purpose of the given task.

As he thinks through, bits of ideas start to appear. Sometimes when his thoughts run dry, he views other designer’s work to stir up, at least, a tiny winy idea in him.

Bit by bit, ideas would run through his mind, for days and nights. And bit by bit, each idea comes to place.

As soon as he feels that the whole thought process is overwhelming enough for him, he starts to translate his ideas from his mind to soft copy.

He searches for suitable fonts, and picture fonts (typography?). He rotates them, enlarges them, crops them. He chooses suitable colours, and at the same time wonders why colours are overly colourful.

He takes a look at his soon-to-complete work. Ah! He sees a flaw. He fixes it.

It goes on and on. Sometimes, he spent so much time looking at the computer screen, he’ll have headaches. Sometimes, when the dateline is approaching, he would expect late nights/early mornings. That’s when he’ll start agreeing with the computer (as in, he falls asleep in front of the computer).

And yes, at last. It is completed. A sigh of relief.

But, a sigh of uncertainty and disappointment comes. Viewers just don’t seem to like it. Even though 80% of it is his work.

So, back to the question. What makes a good design?

Is it:

A. A cut and paste, 80% clone, greatly viewed.


B. An inspired idea, 80% original, poorly viewed.

Well, notice that I did not add in the third category; a design inspired and greatly viewed, because it would be redundant?

I don’t know. I am feeling so like. Lost?

Because. Well. I believe that an inspired original idea or work is always great. No matter how it is received by people. A benefit of doubt to them, maybe they had limited resources (including experience) to translate their thoughts and ideas.

I what I believe isn’t what other people believe. Maybe they do not even bother. Haha. But I don’t blame you (if you terasa lah). And let me say, don’t underestimate a “lousy” design. Look into it. There’s always a story behind every design.

Let me also say:

One. I’m getting sick of the same old type of designs you see on shirts every clothing outlet you go to. Circles. Curly patterns. Distorted fonts. Etc. Etc. Although some of them are really nice. Haha.

Two. People who create and design stuff are funny. They want honest reviews, yet, they want encouragement. Well. Give them both? Hahha.

Three. I’m sorry if I made you wear shirts you didn’t like, or maybe, still do not like. I have to say that some of them (especially those I did in Convent) are really worth a sigh.

Four. I am not a designer? I don’t think I am yet fit to be called one. Haha. Well. I’m still learning. Sometimes I doubt myself. Until I am not exactly sure of how I will turn out in future. Or if I’ll survive. Haha. But on the other hand, I’m really glad and honoured to say that God is an Inspirer. My Inspirer. Weeee!

Five. To all fellow battle men out there! Whether you are doing shirt designs, logos, newsletters, videos, PowerPoint, etc. Have fun falling asleep in front of the computer! Secreting out your creative juices! Rushing because of last minute changes! Redoing because your computer committed suicide (hanged)!

Yeah. And YOU. You made it to the end, fellow reader. Or. Did you just skip till the last few sentences?


Don’t worry. Confessions can be made through commenting.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Joel
    Dec 23, 2008 @ 11:56:07

    I read the whole post! I read the whole post!

    BTW words such as “inspirator” and “inspirer” do exist.

    And yes, your designs are good. Sorry if the things I said before discouraged you, I remember pointing out a spelling error on last year’s carolling t-shirt. Maybe you don’t remember, but I feel so guilty la…. =P

  2. koocheekoo
    Dec 31, 2008 @ 00:33:15

    arent u preaching wat i preached to u? well.. spread the word anyway.. hahaha!!

  3. muffled
    Dec 31, 2008 @ 04:30:52

    Um. Well. I think it’s a summary of what we talked about?

    You want royalties is it? 😛

  4. koocheekoo
    Jan 07, 2009 @ 23:57:12

    YES! 10 cents per minute

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