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I think it's unfair to judge the amount of work that went into this redesign on just the one visual that has come out. These large organisations often have a lot of stakeholders, and a big part of the design process in managing and aligning them.
Also, I'm sure we'll see other visuals based on this logo soon.. for example:
Looks at article — looks at date — Gives a nod of approval
Taking this idea a step further; as a designer I think it would be awesome (and scary) to be able to construct an stock image based on my input. "Hey computer I need; a landscape, with a couple on the right of the image, under a tree, with mountains in the background... generate!"
This was a super in-depth article. And about much more than just the typography. Enjoyed reading it.
In my mind a lot of people misinterpret the phrase Form Follows Function. It doesn't mean that aesthetics are inferior to functionalities. Aesthetics have a function of their own. Which can be clearly defined, but which is often forgotten. Don Norman goes into this in his essay/book 'Attractive things work better' — a recommended read. It states that the design of an object/product changes the way we think about it, what we expect from it, and the way we interact with it.
The thing is though, that it's hard to measure the impact of aesthetics without doing extensive qualitative research over a prolonged period of time. Which means that in practice this rarely happens to the extend that it should. (See also my reply to Disillusioned with lack of user research). In my mind it's not that we don't value aesthetics anymore, but that the industry doesn't always give designers a chance to prove it's worth.
But maybe that's ok. I think that not for every product aesthetics are the most important defining aspect. Aesthetics become important in a saturated market where you need to differentiate your product from others. And I think this is where the author is mistaken in comparing the digital design industry to advertisement, where being different from the competition is vital.
You're welcome, and I hope it helps you.
First off; don't give up.
This is tough. And a lot of UX designers will go through this in companies where UX design is a relatively new aspect of the process. In my experience there are often two reasons why companies do not want to do user research:
They don't see the value in it. It costs time to arrange participants, it costs time to prepare the research and to report the findings. Sometimes companies will find it hard to see where the added value is, and if it will outweigh these costs. Unfortunately the only way to deal with this is to keep your research as small as possible for now, until you've done it a couple of times and the company sees the value of it and you've also dealt with the second reason;
They are afraid that the outcome of the research isn't in line with the teams assumptions. So this is less about upfront costs, but more about the costs that it could generate. Sometimes it means redesigning a part of the site, sometimes it even means rebuilding an entire flow. In my experience this fear is best met by explaining the impact not dealing with these potential outcomes could have. Dealing with them now, early on, is far easier than in a later stage. And would (potentially) save money.
Second; User research isn't the holy grail.
User research is about risk management. But it's not possible/viable to test everything beforehand. It's ok to make some assumptions as long as you realise they are assumptions. A lot of times designers will base their decisions on their experience, best practices, conventions, etc., and that's ok. You can use analytics to see if they work the way you expect them to work.
Create sections in InVision for those categories. You can share an individual section with the PO and Developer, so they won't be distracted by all the other screens.
This is true for a lot of icons though, I bet your mobile phone doesn't have a separate horn, but still uses that to indicate a call.
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