by Joe Olivo
Steve Jobs was a quirky and incredibly demanding titan of business. He could at times be rude and almost belligerent to those who he believed weren’t measuring up to his standards of performance. I learned this while recently reading Walter Isaacson’s excellent biography of Jobs.
Isaacson’s book does a great job of detailing Jobs’ life and the innovation he brought to the computer, mobile phone and music industries. The book takes you through the history of the personal computer through the lens of one of the individuals most responsible for bringing it to the masses. What I also gathered from the book was that Jobs was a brilliant visionary and an ardent supporter of great design. Jobs placed top priority on Apple products being well designed both in function and style.
I purchased my first personal computer in 1984 upon entering Drexel University, as all incoming freshman were required to own a Macintosh. I have a vivid memory of turning on the computer for the first time and experimenting with different programs like MacPaint and MacWrite. I remember being amazed at all of the different typefaces and colors you could use to create a document. While I was by no means a designer, it gave me a sense of the importance of creativity in design. This was not an accident. Sometimes forgotten in Jobs’ creation of the Macintosh computer was the value it placed on typography. This was not a machine created solely for data processing; the attention Apple paid to typography was driven by Jobs’ near obsession with the beauty of type. He treasured creativity and realized its significance on many different levels.
In our current information-glutted, media-saturated world, visual creativity in both traditional and new media can get lost. With so many forms of media, and the speed at which information moves, the importance that should be placed on quality graphic design is often forgotten. High quality content deserves high quality design. Good design will engage the viewer, visually translate what is being communicated, and inspire people like I was inspired by the Macintosh.
At Perfect, we have gained a newfound respect for quality graphic design during the past year. As a company who operates on both sides of the marketing equation (we market our own organization while simultaneously providing marketing services for our clients) we hold ourselves to a high standard in all of our communication efforts. Creative design is an important part of this.
With the commoditization of print and the templates that are available for use with digital media, it has become easy to try to “automate” design. We have not done that. Our additional investment in original creative design has allowed us to enhance our brand. From branding elements, to collateral marketing materials, to social media iconography, original creative design has helped us achieve an increased return on investment in our communications efforts.
In today’s environment, tight budgets can tempt business owners and marketing professionals to limit their spending on graphic design. This is a mistake. Those who look beyond the cost and realize that an investment in quality graphic design will yield greater dividends are the ones who will have their message stand out in this media-saturated world.