Don’t try to be original, just try to be good

It was the great american graphic designer paul rand who first said: “Don’t try to be original, just try to be good”. And this advice is nowhere more valuable than in the discipline of typography.
These days any fool can knock up a half decent piece of design, given the wonderful menu driven, template based, digital design tools, we now have at our fingertips.
However, to produce something that is really “good”, you really need to understand the fundamental principles of typographic design.
This stuff isn’t subjective, it’s like music, there are some things that are right and some things that are just plain wrong. It’s like you need to learn classical before you can express yourself in free form jazz.
I came across two great introductions to this esoteric art recently.
The first is this neat little online game which teaches you the mysterious art of “kerning” (For complete novices, a top tip: vertical letters like an “I” followed by another “I” always need to be spaced apart whilst letters like an “O” followed by another “O” always need to be closer together).
The second is this handy reference chart that summarises some of the more important principles of the discipline.
And as the man says: don’t try to be original, just try to be good.
Because It’s only when you get to be good, that you have the ability to express your originality.

By Mike Garner

A highly experienced creative practitioner, Mike Garner is also a strong creative leader with a deep understanding of the effective use of creativity in all aspects of communication.

With widely recognised creative abilities, combined with a practical understanding of commercial requirements, Mike has an exceptional track record in helping start up and grow a number of highly successful creative businesses.

Over the past thirty years, Mike has played a key role in establishing and building three separate (and creatively and financially successful) creative agencies from scratch. These are: Saatch&Saatchi/Equator (1991), OgilvyOne Worldwide (1993) and Chemistry (1999)

One of the most highly awarded creatives in Ireland, Mike has won a vast number of national and international advertising awards, including Cannes, D&AD, The One Show, and ICAD as well as awards in more specialist disciplines such as sponsorship, direct response and direct mail.

With a strong set of practical craft skills that include, art direction, print design, packaging design, typography, copywriting, photography and film direction, Mike is a keen believer in leadership by example, and is happy to getting involved in any aspect of the creative process

Unusually, for someone with such a strong creative reputation, Mike also has formidable strategic planning skills. Having developed and implemented many highly successful strategic planning solutions for a wide variety of brands, he has also he has won two ADFX Advertising Effectiveness awards. (Including Gold, Silver and Bronze for Lidl at ADFX 2018).

Mike has always been a champion of a highly integrated approach to communications, at all times arguing for an active role for the brand, and always placing the consumer at the centre of things. With his diverse skill set, Mike provides the link between initial research, insight and strategy, right through to concept and final execution.

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