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Systematic approach to design variations
on 22 October 2011
The Idea Index is a systematic index of about 300 different graphical treatments which can be given to type or iconic pictures. There are three or four examples of each one, almost all in a fetching silver-grey and black duotone. Its primary purpose is to offer variations for the design of logos and logo-like graphic devices.
In the ideal world the design task and your conversations with the people involved in it inspire you to create, fully formed, a unique and compelling logo. That doesn't always happen, though. As an alternative to trying-out the rather limited number of effects that come with Illustrator, Photoshop or CorelDraw -- all of which scream 'effect applied on computer' -- flicking through the Idea Index may very well deliver the inspiration required. Even if it doesn't deliver the inspiration, it will certainly offer enough options of variation to choose one that is appropriate to the idea.
The same goes for when you have an idea that really works, but have been told you must offer three choices.
Clearly -- and as the author explains in the introduction -- all this will work better if you've properly defined the project and the audience to begin with, and have brainstormed the concepts adequately. At that point, all you are really looking for is appropriateness.
If you're a graphic design graduate, or an ardent scrapbooker, you may well have already amassed a large collection of example visual ideas which you refer to in such situations. The Idea Index will -- even so -- probably round it out with ideas you haven't found, or variations that you didn't have. If you're not, then the Idea Index is a fairly simple way of acquiring twenty years of someone else's scrapbooking in a handy format. The claim on the back cover "Instant creative genius when you need it most" is probably going a bit far, but this is certainly a very useful tool, and much quicker and less frustrating than ringing the changes on a computer.