Design and Immortality

Posted by ChristinatheDesigner on June 14, 2017

Recently I was reading some articles on what makes good design. While most of the articles were about visual attributes like positive and negative space, color usage, typography, etc., one article listed instead the qualities of good design. One quality on the list that I thought was curious enough to write about was a design being Timeless.

We have all seen and heard about Timeless design. Designers hope that one day one of their designs will be immortalized as Timeless (I'm included in that bunch). But can you intentionally design for timelessness? Is it something that's a fluke? Does it take time to know that something is timeless or will be timeless? Do you have to predict the trends of the future? How do you transcend time?

Let's take the Nike Logo. One of the world's most recognizable and timeless logos created almost 50 years ago. The cost to design such a logo? $35. I don't think Carolyn Davidson, though a student, intentionally designed the Nike swoosh to be timeless. Yet due to it's simplicity and versatility it has become a timeless icon. If she knew that her logo was going to be the face of an empire would she have charged more? Was it good design to her? Her client didn't like it but today it's is one of the most recognizable logo's in the world. The Nike Logo has topped "50 of the most iconic brands logos of all time" coming in at #1.

Upon doing more research into the Nike Logo I found it's also conceptually brilliant. I would say the average consumer doesn't know the concept behind Nike and the logo. The Nike Swoosh indicates movement and speed. The brand name is named after the Greek Goddess of Victory. The check mark is believed to have been created by the Roman Empire. Here we have a Greco-Roman connection between the brand name and the logo. Davidson also visualized the swoosh as being wing-like connecting this to Nike who has wings

In the end some may think Davidson got the short end of the stick. But did she? Wouldn't any designer jump on the chance to be immortalized through their design? What is that worth? My conclusion that becoming timeless is priceless.

The Nike Swoosh is a trademarked corporate logo created in 1971 by Carolyn Davidson

Placeholder text by Wikipedia. Image also found on Wikipedia.