Re: Manual design questions? (Take II)

Subject: Re: Manual design questions? (Take II)
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- progeny -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001 13:46:52 -0800

"Hart, Geoff" wrote:

> I don't think we're disagreeing on this.

Not really. Just a few details' worth of difference.

> That's not to say a design can't be aesthetic and functional, only that the
> former mustn't interfere with the latter.

I think that most professional typographers would argue that
function is aesthetic. A number of people suggest that people who
place aesthetics over function shouldn't be called typographers at
all, but something like "type artists."

> When I say that "design" isn't part of the usual notion of branding, my
> meaning is perhaps different from what you're thinking. For example, though
> the Microsoft and Adobe wordmarks (typeface plus color plus graphical
> elements) are instantly recognizable as parts of their overall brand, I
> personally couldn't look at two pages excerpted from their respective
> manuals and identify which company produced the documentation.

Maybe not (although, with a bit of prep, I'm sure you could). But I
don't think that branding needs to be consciously perceived to work.

_That's_ what I mean about layout and design not
> being part of branding: they certainly contribute to the success of the
> documentation, and thus to the perception that the brand implies quality
> documentation (or its lack <ahem>), but they're not visually part of the
> brand itself.

I was heavily imbued with the idea that design was (or could be)
part of branding. For anyone interested in the topic, I'd suggest
Adobe Publication's "Branding with Type" as a brief introduction.
It's what first corrupted my thinking on the subject.

Bruce Byfield 317.833.0313 bbyfield -at- progeny -dot- com
Director of Marketing and Communications, Progeny Linux Systems
Contributing Editor, Maximum Linux

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Egyptian rings, and the dust of kings and the tooth of hag,
The bones of Keats, the tongues of cheats and a mad dog's eye
I'm going to make you love me, and you won't know why."
-Richard Thompson, "The Business on You"

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