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Sunday, 28 October 2012 10:05

Design Matters Q&A: Mark Tanis, President, The Image Group

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Design Matters Q&A: Mark Tanis, President, The Image Group PHOTO: Katy Batdorff
When Mark Tanis founded Holland-based The Image Group in 1985, he intended it to be a sole-proprietorship, but as the years went by, the company expanded to serve large clients such as Western Michigan University and Metro Health. Now, The Image Group has more than 10 employees and has strong ties to Holland’s freelance talent pool.

For the uninitiated, what is design?

Design is a blend of the visual arts with other arts in communication. That’s where we focus. Design can take shape and form in everything we do. We can design our day, so to speak. We can design what we want to think about creatively. Design, for me, is a result of creating something fresh and new that gets executed in a tangible way using a variety of tools. The marriage of the visual thinking, how we communicated it, how the story can be told visually is very critical. Design requires that you pay a lot of attention to the details more than what most people think.

What is the most common misunderstanding about design?

Too many people, I think, look at design as something that just sort of falls out of a creative mind, and somebody turns it into a certain color and a certain typeface, and they treat it like a commodity. Good design thinking is incredibly hard work. It requires both left-brain and right-brain thinking. It’s got to be utilizing so much information. There’s really a science and process that goes into it in order to do it well. It’s part of communication. It’s much harder to make things incredibly elegant and simple to use than to make them bulky, complex and cumbersome.

With so much design out in the marketplace, is there a risk of dilution?

Anybody can put ink on paper. Anybody can put oil on canvas. Anybody can take a digital picture. The ones that stand out … send a different message and ignite our senses to realize what their meaning is inside of it, whether it’s art or design. I think one of the biggest ways to test it is to see how long it will last. We think of things when we do brand work and design identities not as something that will only last for the next couple of days. We’re looking at something that will last for years.

For a business owner or executive, what is the case for design? Why should they care about it?

Designing anything properly will save people money. Great design makes for efficiency over time. If somebody designs an identity that represents a firm well … and people pick it up right away, that creates incredible efficiency. It’s going to make your business more efficient or more effective. That’s the value of design.

Read 2237 times Last modified on Sunday, 28 October 2012 22:06
Carl Dunker

Contributing reporter

cdunker@mibiz.com

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