Just recently, Google changed its identity. They moved the “g” and “l” each one pixel to the right and the “l” down one pixel. It wasn’t a major redesign and could barely even be considered a tweak.
But people noticed.
It started appearing on blogs, people started talking about it on social networks and soon enough they were looking up the definition of “kerning”. They wanted to know why those few pixels mattered and why Google felt the need to shift things ever so slightly.
To some it may only be a few pixels, but to professional designers it means a whole lot more.
The general public has never been more aware of design than it is now. People are seeing the difference it makes and the value it can bring. And with all the different forms of technology they see design through, there have never been so many platforms and techniques for designers to explore and communicate through.
In 2010, Gap rebranded itself then subsequently debranded back to its previous identity after backlash on social media. American Apparel sells shirts with upper- and lowercase type specimens set in Helvetica. A 14-year-old suggested that the US government could save millions with a simple change of font. Everyone and their parents have something to say about each new Facebook redesign.
In short, people are paying more attention to design. This can be a double-edged sword, as seen with the Gap logo debacle. But on the flip side are people who want to see better branding. They care about what the brand looks like and how it presents itself; they want to be proud of supporting it. And they’re starting to recognize all the time and effort that goes into creating and managing that. When clients are able to point out Helvetica in a crowd and notice even the most subtle design tweaks, it only emphasizes the work that we do. The words “brand” and “design” are quickly becoming household terms and so our responsibilities are growing.
And with all the different platforms people are seeing brands in, it makes sense that they’re noticing the value of design.
Brands are more accessible than ever right now. Along with print collateral, brands need to be effectively expressed on the company website, social media accounts, videos and even apps – things people see and use every day. And the more people are aware of the value of design, the more they realize they need good designers to depend on. They’ll start asking what they can do to improve their brand if Google refined theirs by just a few pixels. They’ll start to realize that these small details do make a difference and that they can’t manage those themselves. And it’s up to us as designers to back that realization up – to prove to them that yes, every pixel counts.