Christian Long

David Carson: Design + Discovery

In TED Talks on April 11, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Reflection by RIVU D.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

David Carson:  Design + Discovery

Great design is crucially important in today’s world for almost everything due to the role advertising plays in today’s society. There are very few, if any, jobs that aren’t touched in some way by the long reach of advertising and marketing. Take a chemistry professor at any given college or university, you would at first imagine that advertising doesn’t really play any significant role in his career. In actuality, all the proposals for grants that he spends countless hours writing are merely advertisements, trying to convince various companies to give grant money to fund research. But as we all know, some advertisements convince us to buy or do certain things much more effectively then others, and that is simply due to effective design.

First and foremost, I highly recommend this video due to the fact that it is, put simply, educational entertainment.

However, it isn’t “educational entertainment” in the sense of most educational videos, like the ones teachers manage to pull out and give to their substitutes when they themselves fall ill. Those videos tend to chase the rabbit of simply boring albeit informative rather than truly entertaining.

This video actually manages to illustrate multiple revolutionary and radical design premises in a humorous context which manages to relay the information much better, and all credit goes to the speaker, David Carson. In the video, multiple highly unique and original designs for different advertisements are shown. But in my opinion, there’s another concept at play that’s much more intriguing due to the fact that it could possibly affect our future in an incredibly dramatic way.

If more people, specifically graphic designers and people involved in advertising and marketing departments, adopt the originality and creativity that David Carson employs so eloquently in his designs, imagine what the possibilities could be.

For a simple example, take the average adolescent watching television. He or she will often skip over advertisements and “channel surf”, due to the lackluster advertisements resulting in boredom. Well, what if the advertisements actually did their job and managed to grab someone’s attention with intelligent and intriguing design such as David Carson? And then, what if the ads went even further and successfully convinced numerous people to purchase a product or help a foundation? If there was say, an advertisement revolution where all the brilliant ideas shown in this video and more so were thrown directly into popular mainstream television and possibly to a lesser extent radio, it might go as far to put a noticeable mark on the economy. What “great design” would do to our every day lives is an incredibly compelling idea.

There are many individuals who question the power of the design in an advertisement. Some people believe that an advertisement does not have an effect on a person’s mind that is significant enough to actually compel them to purchase a product, and that a person will make a decision based on his own wants and needs with no outside influence. And, there are such individuals that exist, individuals who are oblivious to the effects of advertising or marketing. But with a design unique and intriguing enough, that can theoretically change.

There is one such company that everybody has heard of that employs intelligent design in their advertisements almost perfectly, whose product you almost certainly. That company is Apple. The commercials for iPod’s, iPhone’s, and now the iPad’s are incredibly efficient at showcasing every positive aspect of a product while making it intriguing all the same. In the end, it makes the viewer want to learn more at the least. When you think about it, an iPod is really just a simple MP3 player with iTunes support. There are other options at fractions of the price, but iPods still completely own the market, going as far to make the market for CD players and the like obsolete.

The potency of great design in advertisements and marketing is not to be underestimated, as it can truly effect how much a product will sell. David Carson manages to illustrate numerous unique designs he has coined for advertisements that can give people an idea of what true creative graphic designing is, as it isn’t just catchy slogans and bright colors. The words themselves are important, but where the words are placed, what color the words are, what shape or font the words are in, and what on the page is complimenting the words are all just as crucial elements to catching the onlookers eye.


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