I have a good many friends who are into design. Because I grew up and still live in Richmond City, most of my friends are either students or byproducts of the art school at VCU. Even those who are not have been almost absorbed into a highly aesthetic culture. Although I have been around this culture for my entire life, it never quite made sense to me. Of course I can see something pleasing and know I enjoy looking at it, but never really did it truly click for me. After this week, I feel as though I could have an actual conversation about functionality and design.
The Vignelli Canon is not at all what I was expecting when I first clicked the link. In my head, it was a collection of beautifully designed objects with tips and tricks here and there throughout. In reality, the Vignelli Canon is a far more technical guide to the ins and outs of designing successfully. While much of it was over my head in terms of application, the Vignelli Canon addressed many issues that I would have never thought to consider in design.
To me design was always some unattainable thing that only extremely artistic people could do, but after reading the Vignelli Canon, it is clear that the truth is much deeper than that. Design is not some freehand experiment you just sit down and do with full faith it will turn out. It requires planning and patience and careful consideration. This is most evident to me in the section where he addresses the use of grids in margins, particularly in the making of company letter head. Everything is placed exactly where it needs to go and at exactly the correct size.
The obvious conclusion after reading the Vignelli Canon is that design is far more intricate than it appears from the outside looking in, and those who excel at it have a true gift in the combination of artistic skill and the ability to plan something out perfectly to reach the pinnacle of both form and function.