The concept Communication comes from the Latin communicatio.onis and means “action to participate”.
It is a process that involves the exchange of information between interlocutors using mutually understandable signs and semiotic rules. It is a primary social process, which allows to create and interpret messages that provoke a response.
When we think of the origin of communication, we travel to the cave paintings. For a long time, drawing and painting were the essential means of communication for man and it was through this visual language that they could express their concepts, symbols, values and beliefs.
We also think of the Egyptian hieroglyphs that gave rise to communication systems used today. They have been used by mankind for thousands of years and together they have created a vast repertoire of signs, marks and symbols that carry meaning.
Visual communication, as we know, carries so much history that we do not even remember its importance when we look at a “mere” traffic sign.
Traffic signs are understood to be a set of communicational objects representative of a common action for group performance. Its message must be informative, noticeable, instant and universal.
Marking and signalling are not exactly synonyms, but their practices coincide in common actions that derive from the function of information in order to direct, identify and inform. There are many terms found and used to describe this area of Design.
The signs are not always consensual. When a nameplate does not immediately fulfil its purpose, when it is confusing or poorly designed, we are displeased and uncomfortable. Like an insistent and uncomfortable discomfort to our eyes.
I think that we all have a designer hidden within us who would like to put all his imagination and creativity into practice. The problem starts right there! As a designer, it doesn’t bother me that we all have this desire to create, on the contrary, we all can or should be visual critics of what we consume daily.
It really bothers me that we are not ALL educated to have a good critical judgment with sustained visual knowledge. It is for this reason that I think that there is still a long way to go in the education of visual culture.
We have to educate with good examples.
A good example is the signage used in airports, following a set of regulated rules, which is based on the importance of the font used, applied in an appropriate and legible way for a wide audience.
An example of poorly conceived visual communication is present on the signposts of some cities or villages since they are identified with a “special” typeface, that sometimes can appear stretched or deformed, which just by looking at us creates a kind of urticaria. It is through these bad examples that we are taking the wrong for granted and instilling in the citizens the idea that signage can be used in any way, without the existence of rules.
It is through the frequent occurrence of situations like these that we start to assume them as expected, in our day-to-day lives. As designers, it is important to have rules and good visual judgment so that we can execute and design a quality product that is easily adaptable to the environment without causing any visual disturbance, such as a sign.
In my opinion, we should slowly cultivate a visual culture in society. As a designer, our duty in society is to create, educate and involve people in good design examples, to demonstrate through them the correct path to be followed, immediately eradicating those “visual disasters” that we are finding out there.
This article was written by Tânia Forreta, Designer @ MD3 Studio.Tânia is a graphic designer and one of the studio’s creatives. She likes to share crazy ideas about design and have critical discussions about it. It has the particularity of sharing some striking and particular phrases of the studio, as the so-called – “Sometimes it tastes good!”.