What makes a design good, even great? Is it the amount of people that like a design? If for example you showed 5 designs to a target audience of 100 people would it be the one that most of them chose, or would it be the design that design critics and graphic design gurus chose? Is it how well the design works financially, for example does the new packaging design increase the sale of the product. There are just so many variables.
It sort of reminds me of the Oscars, where the films the critics love, are not necessarily the same ones the public do.
How many times have you done a few concepts for a client – you perhaps present three options, having one as your firm favourite. Sure enough the client comes back and has chosen one of the other two. I know there will be people who say “you should only submit ideas you like,” but this is the real world, yes, you may think the other two are good alternatives but generally one will clearly stand out.
Have you ever heard debates about what to charge a client. Most designers will vary their rates depending on the client. This is not to rip them off but some clients will expect more changes and so take more time. Going back to the idea of good design or opinion – working for larger companies can in fact take longer because you have a group of several people all with different opinions, all perhaps wanting to say something slightly different about their company. The more people involved inevitably leads to more stages, more cost and in some cases a weakened design.
I have bought books (not about design) which have the most beautiful typography in them, but little substance and they end up more as a coffee table book. They are perhaps a work of art in their own right, but have they necessarily done their job? Did they deliver the information they promised or did they just pad out a weak idea.
Perhaps as the old saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
How do you judge good design?