The importance of design

May 28, 2015


The importance of design

Design is so much more than making things look pretty. It is part of everything we do and every element of our lives. Look up, all of the objects you see around you have been designed. Someone’s thoughts and efforts have gone into making each object intentional.


Someone who had a very good understanding of the importance of design was Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Throughout his prolific career, Jobs emphasised the importance of creating aesthetically pleasing products. “Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works,” he said.


Combination of form and function

It is only through a well thought out combination of form and function, that the goal is appealing aesthetics and functional usability can be reached.

Personal computing pioneer Mitchell Kapor says: “What is design? It’s where you stand with a foot in two worlds – the world of technology and the world of people and human purposes – and you try to bring the two together.”

It is in this combination when an object is truly beautiful. Achieving this is not easy, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying.

Art director and graphic designer Paul Rand understood the importance of this combination. “Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated,” he said.


Design details shouldn’t be overlooked

From designing a new shoe to planning a control room design, every detail should be intentional and planned. It is often the smaller details which make the biggest impact. Renowned furniture designer Charles and Ray Eames understood the importance of this. Charles Eames’ design staple Eames Eiffel chairs make a big impact because of the simple criss-crossed wires which make them instantly recognisable. You’ve probably sat in an imation chair, originally designed by him, without even realising it. He said: “The details are not the details. They make the design.”


Keep this in mind every time you see something new. Take a moment to appreciate its design and the thought which went into it. Take that same time every time you start a new project, whatever that may be. As business author and speaker Tom Peters said: “Design is so critical it should be on the agenda of every meeting in every single department.”

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