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Why communication design? Part #II


°° a communication in writing, in speech, or by signals (symbols)*

°° a central theme or idea intended to inspire, urge, warn, enlighten advise

°° to make statements that accord with officially aproved policy (brief)*

the message:

°° to understand what somebody is saying


ndlr: words in parenthesis are my additions.


The first role of the designer is one of translation and is a two-fold responsibility:

a) create the message according to brief

b) make sure it is understood

Through the years, I have used this *translation* metaphor constantly since it best exemplifies the most important aspect of design which is to *communicate*.

When you look at the above definitions, they do shed light instantly. Furthermore an efficient translation is one of acute and precise interpretation of one's thought.

There is a saying that likens translation (words) to betrayal. Meaning it is impossible to be in the *head* of a speaker and express the full intent of his thoughts and words in an another language.

But you get the point: in design, it is very different, since many background information will be tallied and turn into a specific brief from the client. Needless to say, that the more you *know* precisely what is expected, the more ensuing translation / interpretation will be successful.

Now if you think it to be an easy process - or even one to be discarded altogether... Think again. Let me give you an example.

I speak 2 languages fluently - anybody speaking multiple languages will comprehend this instantly. For those who speak only English, the parallel conclusion to be drawn by the example - will drive the point home.

Have you ever been in a situation - when in a conversation around a topic in one language, someone turns around and asks you to *translate* the last expression / sentence? You know exactly what it means, you could word it easily, you've used it many times... but right THAT moment... you go BLANK!!!

For some reasons - you know exactly what it means but you can't *translate* it in the *other* language. Then you struggle and struggle with the meaning, until you find an appropriate *synonym*.

A synonym is a word that has a similar meaning. You know it is not the perfect meaning but it is similar enough that your listening party understands it and the conversation moves on.

Design per se, leaves no place to going *blank*... or else consider a career change.

So the simplest explanation to designing a message is by finding the closest symbols (synonyms) that conveys instant understanding to intended audience.

So to communicate, to design a message effectively you need to use the closest set of symbols available. To be a good designer you need to know and exploit a large library of such symbols.

As expected, you would NOT want anybody improvising themselves to translate your thoughts; you would want an expert, an *official* translator. Get the point?


The New Penguin English Dictionary / 2002

-> next: Convergence? Ain't a dream


Editorials by Carole Guevin


Essays — ethics — business of design — brain bytes — digital creative culture.

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