design without purpose

Lindi Koprivnikar - Art DirectorWritten by: Lindi KoprivnikarArt Director

“Take a creative risk! Risks aren’t taken anymore! Be more courageous with your designs!” Artists hear this kind of talk a lot, and lately it seems to be front and center as the latest trend. Taking risks that have no purpose. Doing defiantly edgy things for no real reason.

I’m not talking about taking a leap of faith necessarily, like making drastic changes in your life or company — those things tend to revolve around heartfelt choices that have real value. I’m more so referring to people and companies that produce things for shock value or just to be different. It’s becoming the new norm. Like you’re not truly creative if you don’t take some kind of insane risk or produce something wildly audacious.

Take Instagram, for example. They took a huge risk in rebranding - and for what reason? It didn’t really pay off, they traded something strong and familiar for something mediocre and flat. Of course, we live in a fire and forget world, so no one is actually going to stop using that app because of a bad logo. But what was the point in revamping something that was already great? Yes, there are plenty of brands that become stagnant that DO require a massive overhaul. But there needs to be a firm, genuine purpose for this, there needs to be an actual reason aside from just impressing yourself. I’m not a fan of the “ain’t broke don’t fix it” saying, but we don’t need to modernize the bejeezus out of everything. Brands like Kraft, Tropicana, Gap, and MasterCard completely missed the mark by overhauling their entire identity, only to produce flat, boring logos with no personality. If everything looks sleek, modern, and fresh (buzzwords designers love), then doesn’t it all kind of blend together and look the same? I’m not saying don’t take risks — it has its purpose. Challenging fundamental ideas and preconceived notions is very important. But things like continuity, subtlety, and minimalism are just as beautiful and significant too. It’s important to acknowledge those things and consider their value.

Ultimately, if you think about it, the creative act itself - the act of putting ANYthing you make out into the world for public consumption - is inherently risky already. It’s a leap of your imagination and the risk is failure. Always. Just remember, if your risk isn’t connected with a genuine purpose, then you should truly question if what you’re doing is actually a risk, or merely a novelty.