Making Good is an experimental MDes design exegesis that considers the nature of ‘good design’ through the experience of a live, commercial brief. Findings are articulated through the spatialisation of research process in the digital realm.
On one hand, Making Good explores the nature of credibility, transparency and trustworthiness in design for the web. This is illustrated through the concept of the ‘credibility toggle’. Practice considerations (such as typography, visual style, usability, etcetera) are examined, and a button allows the user to experience the antithesis of best practice – an ‘incredible’ (dubious, scarcely credible, unsatisfactory) version of the page. This is research expressed visually and experientially: showing as well as telling, medium as message.
In tandem, Making Good proposes a novel, icon-based linking architecture to provide the user with direct access to research references, author comment, interactive media and explanatory text. This allows a more immersive experience on content-deep websites, and takes the academic principles of referencing and footnotes for context and credibility to a new level of usefulness and usability.
Thirdly, Making Good is a reflective examination of negotiating the nature of good – as a synonym for ethical – design practice. Inspired by Milton Glaser’s ‘12 Steps on the Graphic Designer’s Road to Hell’, a live brief design process is considered through an ethical lens, each decision ranked in terms of proximity to my own personal design Hades. This model is proposed as a prompt for other designers to consider their own version of what it means to be a ‘good designer’.
Sometimes, good design isn’t just about artefact. Sometimes, good design is about research, process, experimentation and an examination of practice. Making Good synthesises and embodies all these elements.
Making Good earned a first class Master of Design, and a Best Award in 2014. Many thanks to Donald Preston and Roy Parkhurst, my supervisors, and my mentor Anna Brown.