A digital blog from Bristol? WTF!
This is supposed to be a blog about digital creative from Bristol. Yet, I’m sitting on a London bound train, about to see one of my design heroes, Jonathan Ive from Apple based in the US of A. Oooh, the ever so slight irony of it!
Hello! I’m Jon Waring
Vital stats: 43, 6ft 2, 11 stone, 1 wife, 3 children, 1 ludicrous mortgage and 2 cats. I’m more of a dog person, but was out voted. Having 3 children IS a mistake, you’re out numbered and end up with cats instead of dogs.
Perhaps a more vital stat: Creative Director at 3Sixty, a digital marketing agency based in Bristol in the UK.
I am planning to showcase some of the great digital work that comes out of this wonderful and diverse city, plus the broader South West. Before I do, I thought I’d set out my stall by defining what I consider to be the criteria for great digital.
Judging creative work can be a subjective affair. I’m no exception. Years of hard earned experience as a traditional graphic designer with a passion for typography have chiselled and etched me into the old git I am today. Luckily, digital work calls for a slightly stricter criteria than some creative disciplines as it blends communication, aesthetics and technology. Here’s just a few:
Information architecture, user research, a great idea, original visual treatment, typography, colour, composition, clean accessible code, to name a few. It strikes me, that one very important consideration is frequently omitted…
‘What’s the point?’
I’m not trying to be existential, just clear. What do we want the user to do or get out of the experience.
It doesn’t take a designer to recognise good design, it feels inevitable, why would it look or function any other way. In fact, we probably only notice bad design. It gets in the way and feels extraneous at best or indulgent at worst.
Let me give you a couple of examples:-
Remember search engines before Google? They called them portals, a litter of seemingly random things, check weather, stocks, shares… all stuff they wanted you to do or see. Then Google came along with a solitary search box. They got it, they understood the point of a search engine. That was as much choice as a person could need.
Their user interface (UI) design is so intuitive you barely need a manual. The iPhone is not strictly industrial design so much as user interface design. The actual object only has 4 physical buttons. The real beauty of its design lies in the UI.
You might be thinking ‘yeah, but that’s not creativity.’ I disagree. Both these examples have something in common. Simplicity. It seems to me they understood the point of the project, what people wanted from it. Then designed, something innovative, removing anything that didn’t contribute to its primary objective.
Yes, the form follows function to a degree. It’s not that I don’t understand the need for pure play, passive enjoyment of largely aesthetic or entertaining stuff. These things can stir emotions, a powerful marketing tool for sure, but, ultimately they’re transient.
For me, the really creative, hard working and profitable digital work is based on a good idea, simply executed.