The Fragrance Of Design

I was sitting outside having a coffee and admiring a pole banner; an advertisement for a local museum. I liked it’s color, type, illustration and felt it was just a very nice design. The subject matter didn’t interest me much, but I was glad it was there. Across the street was an ugly brown and orange sign advertising office space for lease.

I feel like the 2 small signs were doing the same thing in trying to tell people about a thing they should know about. I cared about neither ones message, but as much as I liked the pole banner, I disliked the ugly sign just as much. Then I started thinking about the bigger picture and how much any of this really mattered. How much does design really impact it’s environment?

I think if design is going to be in public space it should not be selfish. It should give back by making the environment it occupies a little better. It should delight or entertain and be beautiful, not just a piece of “brandalism”. The nice little pole banner didn’t make my day, but it made me feel like this block of the city was better for having it. Then, someone came out of the coffee shop, stood outside close to me and lit a cigarette and inspired this analogy: Good design has an aesthetic perfume while bad design gives off the visual stench of smoker only concerned with themselves, caring none for those around them.

I’ve made connections with visuals to sound and taste before, but this was the first time I’ve done it with smell. Maybe design is more sensory than we think? Or maybe I’m thinking too hard? Either way, I’ll be a little bit sad when that pole banner is taken down.

brandon moore