What Is Good Design?
May 30, 2015
As a conscious design company, we constantly ask ourselves, "is this good design?"
A simple definition is that design is a method of problem solving.
Design is so many things, executed in many different ways, but the function is always the same. Whether it’s blueprints, a clever user interface, a brochure, or a chair – design can help solve a visual or physical problem.
So what is good design?
This definition is not so simple. The best designs are sometimes the ones that go un-noticed. The highly regarded industrial designer Dieter Rams; the man behind some of Braun’s top products from radios to juicers, developed 10 principles of ‘Good Design’.
Good design is;
Innovative - The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.
Aesthetic - The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.
Makes a product useful - A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
Makes a product understandable - It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product talk. At best, it is self-explanatory.
Unobstructive - Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.
Honest - It does not make a product seem more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
Long-lasting - It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.
Thorough - Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
Environmentally friendly - Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimises physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.
Less, but better – Because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.
For Jon Ive, the newly appointed Chief Design Officer and master designer from Apple, Rams is an idol on the topic of abstraction and simplification to the necessary. It is clear from the technical blueprint of Apple’s creations that Steve Jobs and Jon Ive followed Rams’ main principle ‘‘lesser but better’’ when optimizing their product design.
Every startup has its own core focus, at BU our objective is to study both function and form, and the connection between product, the user, and the environment.