Identifying Communication Design

Effective communication design:

This poster appears in several computing clusters on the Carnegie Mellon University campus. It reminds students to call campus police in the event of an emergency and provides the phone number. The poster’s design is likely intended to not only capture the attention of the reader, but also remind them that campus police are always ready to help with emergencies. This goal is effectively achieved, since the design draws the reader’s attention and effectively communicates its point. The type conveys the urgency and importance of the message through the use of capitalization and exclamation points. The color of the text provides contrast between the pleasant message on the right and the course of action on the left. Additionally, the color creates unity between the “Emergency”, the “YES”, and the “412–268–2323”. This unity helps the design accomplish its goal by linking together the most important parts of the message. The scale of the text emphasizes the urgent information, such as the phone number, while making the provider of the information, Computing Services, seem less important. Finally, the layout of the poster clearly indicates where the reader should begin. The white planes, black arrows, and use of negative space work to effectively direct the reader’s gaze through the poster. The limited number of colors, types of planes, and text ensures that no elements clash with one another or compete for the reader’s attention. As such, the poster serves as an example of effective communication design.

Ineffective communication design:

This poster appears on television screens in residential areas such as the Morewood Gardens Lobby. It provides a schedule of events for a celebration on campus. The design is likely intended to capture the reader’s attention, convince the reader to attend the celebration, and provide the times and locations for various events. This goal is not effectively achieved. While the poster may draw the reader’s attention, it is unclear where the reader should begin, and the reader is forced spend several seconds discerning what is being advertised. Once the reader discovers the poster is advertising a celebration on campus, he or she is faced with the task of navigating the different events detailed across the page. The type is inconsistent, using various fonts, sizes, and colors. As a result, it is difficult to realize that the poster is presenting several events which will occur at various times during the celebration. Had the poster used unity in the format and type of the events, it would be easier to navigate through them. The layout is chaotic. Since the individual events are placed wherever they fit on the poster, there is no clear path for the reader to follow. A linear organization would have better showcased the different events and better conveyed the times which they occur. The varying fonts, sizes, and colors, as well as the various elements, such as the speech bubble, basketball, thick green square, and blue triangle conflict with one another by competing for the reader’s attention. As such, this poster serves as an example of ineffective communication design.

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