Putting personality at the heart of digital design.

Challenging order has been a trait of the human race since the dawn of time. Throughout the ages, order and rationalisation have been overcome by disorder and responses usually rooted in emotion.

Personality and emotion seem to be lacking in the mainstay of modern digital design. Simplicity and utility have become the sole focus.

This lust for rationalisation has also created a raft of new specialisms, such as the interaction designer. Specialising is necessary, but when those roles become too narrow, they strangle the end result.

Interaction designers have a tendency to be left-brained. I guess this is due to how interaction design is so closely bound to front-end development rather than graphics or identity.

I find this specialism particularly interesting as it’s the one that could have the biggest impact if it moved more towards injecting personality rather than focusing on utility alone. Even Google seem to get it with their recent preference for natural animation:

“Not all objects move the same way. Lighter/smaller objects may accelerate or decelerate faster, because they have less mass and require less force to do so. Larger/heavier objects may need more time to reach peak speed and come to rest. Think about how this applies to the various UI elements in your app and consider how their motion should be represented”.

Indeed, not all brands should behave the same way either. It’s ok to animate a heavy object in way that appears to contravene physics — if that’s something you want to stand for.

Brand is important. It’s the main point of difference for digital products in a world where technology has plateaued from a macro perspective. The trend for self-destructing media apps (Snapchat et al) is evidence enough that fairly granular changes are having huge repercussions. Pretty soon products will become no more than commodities.

We need to return to putting brand at the heart of design. Brands are everywhere and they communicate with everything.