Where Can You Apply Design?

You know how they say, “everything is science.” While I agree with that statement, I tend to feel the same way about design.

Everything we look at was created with an initial design in mind, because there are so many different design mediums to consider. Your desk: applied design. Your shirt: fashion design. Your house: architectural design. The computer that you are reading this on: user interface (UI) design, and if we are talking about the product itself, industrial/product design.

You get the point. I bring this up because, as a visual designer, this artistic knowledge comes as a blessing and a curse.

For instance, take a look at the these billboards, with my commentary to follow:

Foreclosure Relief Billboard
Let’s start with a decent one. First glance, this billboard is working well. It has a clear message that is also clever in its transition from the word “Foreclosure” to “Relief.” However, the message would probably get lost to the viewer from afar, considering the color of the font is so light in the word “Foreclosu.”

Governor Mead Billboard
While the typography (it actually makes me wince when I use this term for this design) stands out and is eligible on this billboard, I can’t help but wonder if I stepped back into a time machine and landed in 1997, when using Word Art in Microsoft Office for marketing material was acceptable.

Spicer Greene Billboard

God-awful messaging aside, the design composition is also quite horrific. The problem is your eye is not quite sure where to look first. The logo is the same size as the message, meanwhile the gems are competing for your attention too in their sporadic arrangement and bold colors. See now why I said curse? It pains me to know that someone paid to have this monstrosity created, actually approved, then blown up and plastered up for the entire world to see.

Renault Billboard

Finally! We made it. Clear, not to mention clever, message (we always need a light chuckle after sitting in traffic or during a long drive home). The text is also bold and readable from afar, which should be the most important consideration for this type of marketing piece.

Now this is just one example that I have provided when it comes to noticing design in everyday life. Some may not notice such “trivialities” that I pointed out in the above photos as one might call them, but you would be surprised by how design impacts decisions subconsciously. The most recognizable example of this being the trap of the iPhone. How many crucial differences, really, are there between the last iPhone model and the latest one? 80% of them are typically just cosmetic changes.

How about when you are deciding between two different models of an appliance to buy? Will you purchase based on functionality, or color? Will you purchase based on simplicity, or amount of new features added? All were design implementations of the creator, to be decided by your own personal design tastes, the end user. The creators then tailor their products to better reflect the tastes of consumers. Design decisions of both sides have an impact on evolving technology and promoting new, innovative ideas.

But we don’t have to look at design in just a business sense. It is applied everyday in your decision making, and impacts your life! Just think, the unique layout of your resume could be the reason for the next job that you land. The ease of use of your GPS map allows you to find the quickest route to your destination. The perfect combination of filters, angles, and composition in your photos contribute to the high stats on your bangin’ online dating profile. I hope this is sinking in a bit, thought I would capture your attention back with that last line.

So I leave you with, where can you apply design? Just noticing design in the real world is the first step. As you become more aware of it, you will better understand how businesses are trying to sway you with their own design decisions. You can alter your decision-making, and best of all, use great design to your advantage in your own life! No artistic skill required. 

If you have any experiences that involve recognizing design and it having an impact on your life in some way (negative, positive, let it all out!), I’d love to here about them in the comments below!



Cover photo credit to Gratisography. (Love his work, and you will too.)


Nicolette Shasky

About the Author | LinkedIn
Nicolette Shasky is a creative innovator with a specialty in visual storytelling and UI/UX Design. She currently works as a Visual + Analytics Designer at Interactions Marketing in San Diego, California.


  1. Excellent article! Bad design can horribly impact business.

  2. Orysya Stus says:

    Great article Nicolette!

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