Small businesses (and sometimes even quite large ones) often resort to their own amateur design skills to promote their products and services. These days, we see the results online on social media all the time, but the classic medium is still the street flyer or poster.
Such amateur design jobs can sometimes be aesthetically harrowing and fail to communicate their intended message. But one designer is carrying out perhaps the greatest acts of graphic design kindness we've seen. He's anonymously redesigning ads around New York to make them better – and his heroic endeavour has become a viral hit on TikTok (see our pick of the best graphic design software if you're looking to upgrade your own tools).
Max Kolo is a freelance digital artist and filmmaker who's done illustrations for the New York Times and animations for Vans. But with time between jobs, he's found a heartwarming outlet for his skills: improving terrible amateur graphic design without anyone asking and for free.
A video of Day 1 of the project on TikTok (@cool_looking_bug), sees Kolo walking around New York City looking for pieces of design "that need some help". He picks out a flyer from people who are looking for someone to play Catan with. The poster attempts to grab attention with the phrase "Hey, do you like to play Catan"? but the design needs some serious work.
Kolo's fix involves a bespoke illustration to replace the dodgy Photoshop edit, making the piece more fun and engaging, and a lot less meme-like. He also reduces the amount of text and increases the font size to command attention while making the design a lot less busy.
Kolo says he doesn't know who the Catan players are or even what Catan really is, but we expect his redesign could generate more calls. The genuine kindness is wonderful, while Kolo also provides some pointers that amateurs could take on board for their own designs. His TikTok is also now full of comments from people who want to play Catan.
We can't wait to see what Kolo tackles next as he roams New York performing good deeds. He also has an Instagram account where he posts photos that people send him modified with his own sketches.
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