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Does the design of everyday materials deserve more credit?

By September 27, 2021No Comments
Tablet and magazines on table

Logos, exhibition design and book covers can often seem like the zenith of graphic design. Do reports, documents and catalogues get overlooked by comparison?

When it comes to getting designers talking, there’s nothing quite like the reveal of a new logo. Whether it’s tech giants, fast food chains or the Olympics, social media platforms are quickly peppered with debate and, of course, these become popular stories in the design press too. Then there are the flashy exhibition identities, book covers and posters – a chance for designers to flex their creative muscles in response to what is seemingly the dream brief.

But what about everything else we engage with on an everyday basis? The reports, catalogues and forms that are easily overlooked but still have a role to play in our interactions with, and perception of, brands and organisations?

“It’s that classic thing that you respond in the most creative way to whatever the project is,” says David Bennett, creative director at OPX Studio. Alongside branding projects, OPX Studio has designed materials and experiences such as the ten-year strategy document for Arts Council England and annual reports for global design and engineering company Arup.

Bennett says that for a long time, annual reports have been “really standard”, with little sense of scale or character, and often the detail is barely legible. The very words ‘annual report’ might not strike people as the pinnacle of design work, and probably seems like the sort of thing that gathers dust in an office. However, that’s part of the very challenge, according to Bennett: “Each document, be it a strategy document or a report, needs an idea, or else it just will sit on a shelf, and it’ll be a red cover with everything else.”


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