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Conversations in Two Different Languages

To me, the most interesting part of the Milton Glaser documentary was hearing about his relationship with Jean Michel Folon. I wondered how they were able to communicate at all if they were speaking two different languages, let alone how they were able to forge a close friendship without actually understanding each other’s words. I wondered about little things they may have noticed about each other that helped with communication: facial expressions, hand gestures, or tone of voice. There had to have been something between them that was understood despite the barriers.
This now has me thinking about what makes design universal. Everyone in the world comes from different backgrounds, has different areas of expertise, speaks different languages – so it’s easy for things to get lost in translation. It’s important for designers to remember this and try to create work that speaks to everyone. Simplicity seems to be a huge factor, as Glaser learned while designing supermarkets and embodied in his “I Love NY” design (which I could have drawn myself, but has now been embraced around the world). It allows designers to communicate messages clearly and cleanly.

Megan Choate

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