The life of a designer is a life of fight against the ugliness


“The life of a designer is a life of fight. Fight against the ugliness. Just like a doctor fights against disease. For us, the visual disease is what we have around, and what we try to do is cure it somehow with design” – Massimo Vignelli in the film Helvetica

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Catriona Shedd

I am a User Experience Designer with a passion for making people’s lives better through design. I have helped over a dozen organizations obtain a competitive advantage by delivering great user experiences across desktop, mobile, tablet and other channels.

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  • We also need to fight the boring – which to me can mean embracing something ugly if need be. Boring is terrible:-)

  • The successful designer has the interpersonal talent to distinguish the design disease from the client/patient. If the bad design you’re trying to “cure” him of is his own creation, if he identifies with it anywhere near as closely as you identify with your talent, you risk insult if you take this analogy beyond a certain point.

  • MLA

    None of the terminology is qualified (What exactly does Vignelli consider to be ugly? etc.) which makes for a meaningless statement.

  • Not to defend Mr. Vignelli at all, but maybe he meant for example, in a quotation, the use of proper curly quote marks and a period at the end of the of the sentence, no double space after the full stop, &c.

  • I’ll make sure the quotes are formatted properly going forward :). I quite honestly never paid attention to that, but I might as well make them correct!

  • Robyn

    his quote may sound snobbish, but it’s very interesting bc in the movie Helvetica (instant on he is such a humble, sweet man. this quote really resonates with me. along with Antoine De Saint-exupery’s “You know you’ve achieved perfection in design, Not when you have nothing more to add, But when you have nothing more to take away.” By ugly as in the opposite of aesthetically harmonious. it can creep in everywhere, with imbalances in scale, composition, color, texture, etc.