Ineffective Design of “Crazy Ones” Poster

The Apple tech community is still adjusting to a world without Steve Jobs. People are finding ways to continue on his ideas of design and beauty. This poster is one of those projects. It is designed by Jared McDaniel and quotes “Crazy Ones” from the famous 1997 ad campaign . It was created to commemorate Steve Jobs and be a piece that can hang in the offices and studios of passionate artists. The poster is beautiful but the design isn’t effective.

McDaniel’s “Crazy Ones” poster focuses on the beauty of the individual words which distracts visually and emotionally from the quote. The goal of design is to empower the message. Steve Jobs was a fan of beautiful typography and enlisted Susan Kare to create the first uniquely digital fonts, but “Think Differnt” isn’t about typefaces. Another philospohy Steve Jobs employed was one where design, functionality, utility, and usability are each strands of one common thread to reach a product’s goals. This philosophy isn’t realized in McDaniel’s design.

So, what are the goals of this poster? From the poster’s site,

Like so many, we’ve been deeply inspired by this quote. 
With the recent passing of Steve Jobs, we decided to create something that could hang in the office, commemorating an innovator and challenging us daily to “think different”.

The poster is meant to be art, to inspire, and to challenge. For being art, it’s effective in that it would be beautiful hanging on my wall. Art should be aligned (or strategically misaligned) with it’s intended message for greatest effect. As in anything artistic, interpretation is left for you but I believe great artists solely express and leave their work unadulterated of personal interpretation as to not influence yours. In this case, the design skews the message of the quote. It makes it about beauty, when the words say nothing of that. The poster was also created to be inspiring but the essence of the design makes me think the shot of motivation is to “make beautiful things” which again is irrelevant of the quote. Both the poster and message are meant to challenge. One of the greatest challenges I see for designers is the ability to design holistically, following the intent of the message and not infusing their own interpretation into it—something this poster is quilty of.

The quote itself is beautiful, inspiring, and challenging and the designer who’s crazy enough to keep the design out of the way and let the words make the impact are the ones who embody Jobs’s philosophies.

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