Design surrounds us. Whether good or bad, online or printed, or intentional or not, it is inescapable. Design can be found across the websites we visit, the ads we see, and nearly every product we use, and, as we must shamefully admit, it often attracts our attention more than the actual content does.
The proliferation of design is a good thing, though, for it encourages the creation of multifaceted, compelling content. Good design makes strong content stronger, though it cannot make up for weak content. I am excited by multimedia writing for precisely that reason, as I hope to explore the various reader responses that can be elicited through purposeful typography and design choices.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of design is its modularity. As described by Lev Manovich in The Language of New Media, new media is characterized by being a sum of parts. Critical to new media, though, is the fact that those parts can both complement each other as well as stand-alone independently. Good design harnesses the power of individual parts and uses each part as cog in a machine. In other words, design is emergent: it only exists as a sum of parts, and by acting as a sum of parts it therefore assumes a more powerful form.
Design is the future, and, if harnessed correctly, can and will lead to unprecedented, innovated levels of human communication. Multimedia provides an incredibly diverse set of platforms, and we would all be wise to improve not only our writing skills but also our software and design skills. The ability to effectively design content ensures your content will have a more effective message, thus making it more meaningful.