Going off the Grid

What would happen if the design world went “off grid”?

Getting off the grid in design! Strange it sounds does it not?. We are surrounded by a digital world that seems to be gaining mastery over the physical, actual world. All of our work is done on screen within the confines of a digital computer system. Strangely so with the only so-called physical connection to the artwork made via a digital tool. One known one is a mobile phone, a drawing tablet or a computer mouse.


The digital screen has become all consuming. We spend the majority of our days with our eyes focused on one type of screen or another. I myself use 2 Macs, an iPhone and an HP laptop rather than the natural, physical things and world around us. When it comes to creative work especially, this can be both at times incredibly helpful but also detrimental.


Creativity within a digital realm when going off the grid

I  believe that for the most part this is with good reason. Design grids in were created to keep logo design and corporate designs consistent. I have noticed that this aids in brand awareness and identity and helps in keeping the “message clear”. Companies came up with corporate identity manuals, which went into extreme detail about how logos should and shouldn’t be used. Even where they ought to be placed (and how). Firstly in different mediums from printed materials to transportation and building ads and secondly on social media and websites. Is it not time to stop? To get of the grid off? I  firmly believe so.


Think differently and be more you

I’m noticing that a growing amount of corporate design work lacks physical texture because it ends up primarily online or is sent out via email. How does the design feel if you run your fingers over it? Is it raised or flat, shiny or matte? Seeing and feeling these things add to the design but without print this aspect is inevitably missing. Unless we somehow create more textured computing, which might be interesting.


I still remember the feel of the paper against my fingers and how sometimes the pages would leave a bit of ink on the fingertips. I used to hold or turn the page. Yes, nostalgia is part of it (and nostalgia is also currently influencing art and fashion with an influx of gorgeous retro designs). I love to be nostalgic about old fashioned retro designs. Go to Louisiana Museum and get inspired Louisiana inspiration to get off the grid


Potential for confinement

What concerns me about a purely digital world is the potential for confinement, which isn’t to say that digital technology equals confinement but surely the physical world still offers more? Print is becoming less common, and yet more effective in some cases because it is less common! The majority of the greatest pieces of art have been created freely, unabashedly, and not within an obvious framework.


What would happen if the design world went “off grid”? Would it crumble into chaos? Would audiences be simply confused? Or would they be excited? I particularly like two sections on my portfolio that have some designs that a little off the grid Different Tattoo Logos  Retro & Vintage Logo designs Different Retro and Vintage logo designs


I am reminded of the latest Tron film. The majority of characters exist within the context of a “grid” where programs are limited to specific roles and structured as dictated by a higher (oppressive) authority.


Early in the film the hero is rescued from attack by hopping into a car, which proceeds to drive off the grid to a desert oasis beyond the controlled city. It’s here in the land beyond the grid that true life and creativity happens in this world. I believe this is where some of the best art happens too. 


Logo and graphic design work off the grid in design

Beyond the grid” is inspired by a temporary disconnect from our digital frameworks, taking time to enter back into the textured world around us. Why not get our hands dirty? The result off art such as this is perhaps less predictable, but potentially more vibrant. We are used to the parameters defined for us by corporations and design theories.


A design that goes outside the boundaries of grids and expectations of normalcy may be shocking. It could also likely have a very positive effect on the audience, especially if intended audience is younger or the brand needs re-imagining.


Leaving grids and frameworks aside for a moment, it’s important to note that simply pulling our eyes away from the onslaught of screens and screen-related working ultimately is a good idea; it frees our brains up to be more creative.


Use a pen and a paper to inspire yourself to being more

A different part of our brain is being used when we write or draw with hand and paper and not the computer. I know that in fact our brain is more active when we are more physically engaged with our art or work. Have you noticed why many authors still use pen and paper. I have. Above all,  our brains think differently on paper then when we are engaged with a screen. Regardless of your intention with a logo design, creativity is boosted by going off grid even just for a little while. See what happens when you start without confines – designing a logo with paper or paint, something with texture. I won would love to see how it affects your design process. 


I know that starting or staying in the textured mediums and taking a break from digital authority can often give your creativity, inspiration, and designs a real kick. Go outside. Be inspired by nature itself. I love this beautiful summer photo taken in Sweden. I can feel it still even if snow is covering the ground now. 


Logo design and graphic design going off the grid. Beautiful inspirational scenery.
Trust your inner instinct and try to feel your logo design more than you just create it for the sake of creating


In conclusion. Try being more you! Get Off The Grid in Design

Have you found more creativity outside the confines of the design grid? Does the thought of leaving it behind make you uncomfortable? How do you think technology benefits or harms creativity in design work? What kind of designs would you like to see more of, or do you miss from days gone by?


The answer to this can only be found within yourself. I think it’s time to go off a bit. Feel the design. Let the inspirational design come to you in a dream perhaps, or even just trust your intuition. Don’t just be boring and do what everybody else is doing but follow your heart.


What can go wrong with that? No point in being afraid of going off the grip. Happiness could even be found there, once you follow your own lead. 

Want to know more? Contact me Linda


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