BCM112 · Daily Creative · Digital Media · Graphic Design

Design as a Medium: The Medium is the Message

“The Medium is the Message” – that is to say, that the things we interact with in our own environment – whether it be a practical item such as a television, or even a settings, such as a lecture hall – play a pivotal role in the way we understand the message of our what we are connecting with in an an attempt to understand.  Put simply, a change in media can alter the way we comprehend and understand the intended message.   Each different aspect of our surrounding media generates a set of assumptions, and as such creates a change in behaviour when interacted with.

Design in itself is a medium, as it is not transparent or neutral.  When a designer creates any piece of work from a poster, to a logo, to a piece of packaging it is infused with a message within the product.  Design aims to communicate the intended message in which it is being employed to compliment, for example, a logo is used to brand a company by drawing upon their core beliefs and values in order to create a brand mark which successfully represents the organisation.  If the medium was altered, that is, if the logo was designed in a different manner, it would resonate differently to the audience, making new connections, and adding different messages to the identity itself.

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OPTIONAL FURTHER EXAMPLE~

I have created two practical examples to demonstrate how design as a medium can alter the way a message is perceived using two different designs for a 21st party. Both have the exact same information regarding place, date, time etc. But they portray different messages as a result of the design.

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The first image utilises a series of bright, bold shapes, scattered across the page in seemingly random formations.  Choice of colour changes between each different shape and it’s position, black lines cross diagonally, while a single thick green stripe points the opposite direction, yellow circles float in an area which, if otherwise unoccupied, would be seen as empty, perhaps missing something, a large pink arrow seems to anchor the design in place, pointing downwards to information below, where finally the giant ’21’ is held in place by the dark purple semicircle that centres the page. At this first look at the invitation, it’s chaotic, avant-garde ‘modernist’.  The styles create a background which although busy, create an aura of informality.    The second page, only emphasises this.  While the language used can be seen as sophisticated, the size of the text, the use of centred justification, and its spatial interaction with the shapes across the background reinforce this casual vibe.

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The second image sticks to a simplistic black/white/yellow colour scheme, favouring white space over a busy page.  The yellow is used for only two purposes: to cut into the white page from the corner, and to create a graphical representation of fairy lights: used to create a sense of sophistication, alluding to enchantment and wonder, while also drawing upon the popular theme of ‘indie’ culture to create a contemporary vibe.  The invitation utilises minimalist styles, to create an understanding of sophistication for the event, possibly even suggesting a formal dress code.  The sophistication of the language, combined with a san-serif minimalistic font family, further emphasises this sense of formality which can be associated with the invitations.

Although the actual text, or language of the information is exactly the same, the way in which it is organised, the way the design draws upon varying contexts in each design, alters the way the message is interpreted, creating a change of information, a change in the message, and altering the way in which the reader interacts and responds to the message.  The change of the invite design creates a new message, and in doing so, the design becomes the medium.

2 thoughts on “Design as a Medium: The Medium is the Message

  1. Hey Elysse!

    This weeks topic really got my head in a mess, but you have seemed to put it in a way that I can understand! I particularly like this part; “Put simply, a change in media can alter the way we comprehend and understand the intended message”. This resonated with me because it’s true, the way in which something is represented alters the message which is meant, despite the intention!

    Like

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