The Success of Serious and Solemn Design
Updated: Feb 15
The discovery and understanding of why some branding works, and other types do not, can be intuitive but to explain the why is to truly comprehend when you have achieved success or instead perfection. Russel Baker, a writer for the New York Times, once wrote an article describing the difference between seriousness and solemnity. He explained that solemnity is easy, and perfect where seriousness is hard to achieve and imperfect. Where one is widely accepted and effective in its understood predictability the other disrupts the norm and may be considered genius.
Both serious and solemn design play a vital role in branding and marketing and each can be successful. If we begin to categorize solemn design we can define it by it's social correctness. Is it widely accepted? Is it perfect? Is it socially correct? Is it effective in its message?
Solemn design is commonplace, it has been seen before and it has achieved its goal already. It is not new, it is complacent, but it still effective. The contrary to this is serious design. To create intuitively, spontaneously, accidentally or imperfectly is to achieve serious play and design. Children are masters at serious play and creation, but as we grow older and learn more it becomes more difficult and rare to experience this.
Serious design is disruptive and is often considered unsuccessful - but this imperfection and rebellion from the norm is what evokes a change and evolves into a unique and successful design. Serious design is a true unique invention. It rebels against the norms and will create a lasting impact.
Herein lies the full life cycle of design. When serious design becomes accepted or copied it turns into solemn design. When we fulfill expectations we know we have become relevant which is the hallmark of solemnity.
Then a new creation must be born to restart the cycle. With arrogance, ignorance, and the possibility of failure we can grow and invent serious design.
As Russel Baker explained, the virtue of being serious is not actually favored:
In fact, though Americans talk a great deal about the virtue of being serious, they generally prefer people who are solemn over people who are serious.
Salt + Studio has the excitement and fervor to create seriously, as well as the understanding to utilize the effectiveness of solemn design. Our ability to understand our client and their needs combined with our comprehension of the serious and solemn design set us apart as a powerhouse of successful branding.
With passion, focus and desire we can create seriously and realize a visual voice that will not only tell our message but imprint it with impact.