FLUID DESIGN: THE NEW STANDARD

Times are changing, and with it our accepted design standards. Globalisation has weakened the strength of templates. Today, there is a need for fluidity in design. The models that are set when tested in various regions, may be easy to copy but not necessarily useful to copy. The reason for this is the applications of print magazine, press, billboard and collateral are being increasingly challenged by new media. The more unique media becomes in various areas across the globe the more fluid brands need to be in managing to remain relevant. This challenges the status quo with regards to design, but I argue it is absolutely necessary to consider this, going into the future.

Traditional media exists and I am not arguing that it will die. Such doom and gloom prophecy is not my cup of tea. The thing that I am highlighting is the emergence of new breed out-of-home products and services known as alternative media. This media makes provision for reach to target audiences in advertising and marketing that cannot and will not be reached by traditional out-of-home applications. When they are used well, they can be highly impactful, giving brands a deeper sense of relevance to who the message is targeted to. They are often quite surprising, which also makes for memorable communication messaging.

Media trends show a general move towards communication device technologies that demand more interactive communication than the somewhat accepted one-way communication of old. This is another challenge that fluidity in design allows the advertisers of this world to overcome. Mass media is of less value than specialised media. This interactivity, has made the brand engagement a lot more symbiotic than it has ever been. To this reality, brands must respond.

In the discipline of web design, the concept of fluid design already exists. Typically, fixed layouts are limited in responding to various screen resolutions. Fluid design must not be confiused with repsonsive design. The latter services the layouts on different devices. Fluid design aims to keep the same spatial weighting to all elements on different sizes of screens. Viewing this may give clarity on the subject: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/06/02/fixed-vs-fluid-vs-elastic-layout-whats-the-right-one-for-you/

Another example of fluid design is exhibited here in a project undetaken by the King James Group in South Africa. The work is an example of a corporate identity which is designed digitally and it deisnged to evolve constantly.

This is a sign of things that are but are mostly to come. Since, this kind of organic and fluid design is not the norm.

Another example of fluid design applied to a brand is Nordkyn, by Neue Design Studio: http://www.neue.no/nordkyn/

My final example is a design project for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab by Pentagram: http://new.pentagram.com/2014/10/new-work-mit-media-lab/

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the fluid sign of things to come.

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