Design Thoughts

Vignelli wrote a book on how designing takes planning. Among other things, Vignelli’s three basic design gears are semantic, syntactic, and pragmatic. Semantic is to know the definition behind the product, basically the history of the product. Its main point is to drive home the relationship between the sender and the receiver. Syntactic is how the overall structure is designed, from the grid lines, pictures, titles, etc. Pragmatic is how the design is one in itself, it should not need clarity or bring about confusion. Vignelli states “Design is one and it is not many different ones”.

Designing a product is everything. It’s what drives a decision. A foreigner visits the U.S. and he wants coffee, will he visit Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, or the local small coffee shop? Depending on what drives the design, he’ll either go across town or visit the local coffee shop because of the design he sess. Designing is planning, it’s everything. Kidd states that “how the essence of this awareness both reflects and shapes our most basic understanding of the world”, meaning if someone wanted to travel to another country and decided to purchase a traveler’s book on, say Italy, this person is going to make his final decision on whether if Italy is the place to go based on the design of the book. If the design is too unorganized and it’s a bad design, then Italy might be out of the question. Kidd is following what Massimo Vignelli’s fundamentals about design, “Good design is never boring, bad design is”. Kidd’s point to kids is to make it interesting, problem solve, and to achieve this is to participate mentally. Design is everything.


Popova, M. (n.d.) Brain Pickings. Retrieved from

Vignelli, M. (n.d.) The Vignelli Canon. Retrieved from UMW Canvas.

Design Reflection

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