Tackling the word counts brief 

As practitioners in commercial design, we all have a certain level of empathy toward others. It is reflected through our design works. There is no successful work without first understanding our clients as a person and the brand they represent. The design industry buzzed words such as "design thinking" or 'human-centred design' appear to focus on building a product. While the idea and the applications are perfectly right, I felt that we haven't emphasised enough the role of 'design thinking' in visual communication.

Graphic design was founded and populated at a later stage in art and design history. However, as heavily dictated by commercial value, graphic design has picked up what-we-called "human-centred design" mindset very early. It's not a new concept, though not explicitly mentioned “human-centred design" as the method. My dissertation examined empathy and its applications in visual communication in order to find out what elements in a design have played a role in making our lives better. As often, we take those things for granted.

My starting point.

Author Jane Fulton Suri

A fascinating study of how people react to their environment. In the words of author Jane Fulton Suri: “In daily life we make interpretations about the stuff around us all the time – how it might work and what we can do with it. We develop an exquisite awareness of the possibilities and sensory qualities of different materials, forms and textures. Understanding these intuitive interpretations might be a significant source of insight for designers.”

“Thoughtless acts are all those intuitive ways we adapt, exploit, and react to things in our environment; things we do without really thinking.”

Jane Fulton Suri

The book was an eye-opening experience for me when I stumbled upon it while browsing randomly in a library. For me, it explained perfectly well empathic design or the term “human-centred design.” As a graphic designer, I had a vague understanding of the process of this approach. I thought it was only applicable in specific design disciplines, as I have mostly heard from articles about UI/UX and product design.

On the other hand, visual communication is everywhere. It influences us on many levels, from designs of wayfinding systems, advertising to every kind of fillable form. I think the concept of empathic design could be closely related to visual communication. Indeed, it was there at the beginning of the graphic design practice. That’s why I decided to look for examples and write about this subject.   

In the end, graphic design is a creative practice that requires designers to connect with their audiences to transform a message into an aesthetic, functional visual.

How will understanding that help us become a better designer?


According to the author of “Thoughtless Acts”, examining these everyday interactions, we discover a lot about how we engage with the surrounding environment. Therefore, we are able to come up with better solutions  

Exploring the idea of information design

The brief for “The word counts” challenged turning a dissertation into something ‘designed.’ A dissertation is a form of informative writing. Hence, my take on the brief was to design information.

These are examples of enticing visuals, infographics facilitate the understanding of complex issues in journalism:


“It’s both these things, and a lot more, too, but one thing most experts can agree on is that digital storytelling is the lifeblood of any media company. As Newspaper Design: Editorial Design From the World’s Best Newsrooms purports, digital-first means visual-first, and that means a lot more designers in the news room.”
The content of the writing about understanding people intuitive behaviours and that's what affects their visual perception, then what kind of design could be able to convey the same idea. Then I thought designing a newspaper publication could be the idea.

In terms of the design language, the use of typography and the simplicity approach  seemed suitable for my topic. Sometimes, simple and straightforward graphics can explain complex ideas if used well. Then I think it’s not necessary to look like a real newspaper because it might fall into imitating a style but not having a function of a newspaper (dense information, less emotional)



The idea for the cover


I thought about the idea of borrowing a different design principle. The way of using digital design language to apply to a printed product. It creates a perfect juxtaposition between the mediums. We would like to click the “X - close,” but we can’t do that on a print. I though it was a better way to capture the contents of the publication at a glance than traditional listing.

The use of only black and white for all the graphics and text aimed at the same usage of the newspapers.

The format


As I was admiring newspaper formats for their efficient and economic benefits, I had to admit that I loved the format of Real Review magazine so much. I knew it would be a perfect format for this particular project when I first saw it. It’s really reflected people’s habit of folding a paper in half, rolling it up or holding in one hand...

From the beginning of 20th century art moments, we have seen that visual design for the public has evolved from aesthetic pleasing to became more responding to a boarder range of challenges. As a result, design problem-solving approaches had to evolve in order to provide answers to increasingly specified complex challenges. A good design solution must address the needs of users.

Here to finish with another quoting, as I thought there was no better way to put it:

“How do we as designers, through our joy of making things, improve visual culture-and even standards of living-in the United States and elsewhere? How do we make food packaging more intelligent, practical, attractive, and less wasteful? How do we make public documents like census forms and election ballots more functional? How do we make magazines and books on important subjects appear more interesting? How do we make public spaces comfortable and noble? How do we keep marketing and advertising material from appealing banal and intellectually insulting? How do we make what is elite popular-and make what’s popular meaningful? How do we make our daily experience more humane?”