Donald Duck and Design Agenda

We are seeing more and more video content on the web these days. Videos that cross lines between education, marketing and art. Obviously the lines between these three concepts are not necessarily strictly drawn divisions to begin with. They all exist to be consumed by an audience. And in our society, that consumption is often tied to some form of commerce.

But what does this content actually offer an audience that makes them so intriguing in the first place?  Why do some flourish and some become forgettable? Hiding in the idea of successful consumption is, good design. Good art, good marketing, heck, even a good-working stapler are all carefully crafted items. They have all been carefully designed to be easily consumed and utilized. They offer something that’s one part evocative and one part useful.

What, you may ask is evocative of a good stapler?  How about the satisfaction that you have chosen a fantastic method for securing a large amount of papers, quickly?  Ten more points if the stapler can secure eight pages in one click AND looks like a frog. P.S. That frog stapler will definitely be stolen by your office mate. Because it is useful AND engaging.

A properly thought out balance between function, form, and engagement are the building blocks of good design. And mastering all three of those is the key to knowing how to push an agenda on an audience.

Disney understood these ideas way back in 1959 when they created, what might be thought of as an early, long-form animated infograph:  Donald in Mathmagic Land.  The agenda was to teach math to little kids in an engaging medium. And even though it was created over 50 years ago, it still works today. Only now it can live on YouTube as sharable web content.

That’s good design.

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