I find this quote by Tibor Kalman challenging. It is challenging to think about and seek out what it means to not only be a good designer but to be a GREAT designer.
Kalman valued originality and pushing boundaries in design. He once said “Everyone can hire a good photographer, choose a tasteful typeface and produce a perfect mechanical. So what? That means ninety-five percent of the work exists on the same professional level, which for me is the same as being mediocre.”
He did not want to do what everyone else was doing and he also sought to challenge his clients to think this way. About clients, he once said, “We’re not here to give them what’s safe and expedient. We’re not here to help eradicate everything of visual interest from the face of the earth. We’re here to make them think about design that’s dangerous and unpredictable. We’re here to inject art into commerce.”
Kalman also understood that being a ‘good’ designer meant nothing unless the conveyed message of the design led it’s audience to action. When he sold a “design” to a client, he did not hype a particular typeface or color, but rather convinced them of how the end result would advance both client and culture.
Another thing that Tibor encouraged was for designers to think ethically about what they were creating. He believed mass media had turned America, and other countries who emulate American culture, into a nation of “consumer drones.” He understood the powerful role designers played in influencing public opinion and thought that they could (and should) play an important role in turning the tide of the future.
What is the difference between good design and great design? The intelligence to solve a problem in an original and effective way. Excellent design provokes action, it may even influence public opinion on a mass scale or possibly turn the tide of an entire culture.