A crowded world with environmental problems
needs good design more than ever. But the market
is flooded with bad design for many reasons. Good
design involves a lot of effort and money so many
companies and agencies rely on the less expensive alternative for short term results. The principles
applying to good design explained lower down
applies to every type of design
Good design is not cool for the
sake of being cool
In the Instagram age I see a lot of designers - especially in graphic design - that make cool designs
for the sake of looking cool without taking in consideration the purpose of that project. The cool
factor is important in our days but you have to be careful because there are many types of cool.
In fact every person has a different understanding of cool. Cool gives you an advantage and even
gives you a long lasting appeal for your design if it is understood well. But a cool design with no
purpose or a badly understood coolness in the desired context can have negative results.
Good design lasts the test of time
If you design a product or a poster or a brand identity that looks obsolete after just one year then its
a case of bad design. Good design looks good even after 10 years or more. We see examples of
Scandinavian furniture or Italian cars that look good even today after decades on the market.
The same aplies to brand identity. A very good example is the National Geographic visual identity.
Only very experienced designers can conceive a design projects that stands the test of time.
That is in fact the ultimate test for a design project.
Good design needs no explanation
A well design product, brand identity or any other type of design will need no explanation. The intended
user should immediately know how to use it. Here we have examples of imac computers and ikea furniture.
And it should be able to be used by people from various cultures. In a globalised society with environmental
problems design is becoming ever more complex. And all that complexity should be packaged in a simple
to use object or visual system. A few examples are the APPLE computers, IKEA furniture, the Berlin
transit orientation system designed by Erik Spierkerman or the Innocent Juices packaging.
Good design serves a purpose
A well designed project should serve its purpose in its desired context. A design that is just for show
is not design, its art. Design is meant to solve problems and make life easier. Design has a role of improving
the quality of life. From early days even before mass production design was intended to create more
comfort of living for the society. In our days with the appearance of automation that comfort
is accessible to many more people.
In a world dominated by appearance and show offs this practical side of design seems to be forgotten.
But a design with no purpose creates more problems than it solves.
Good design is simplifying life and
not complicating life
Due to increased competitivity between companies new products are apearing on the market. Some of
them are not a response to someones needs but a new marketing plus for a company that want to sell
more. So many new products end up complicating peoples lives and not helping them to simplify their life.
A user should never become the slave of the product. The product serves the user not the other
Good design is in harmony with
In the 21st century in a crowded world, the environmental impact of a product is essential. That because
good design solves problems it doesn’t create problems. So a product or any other form of design
should have a minimal or no environmental footprint. If you drive a car that gives you a short term
comfort but in the long term it takes away the air you breed that is not a good bet. Good design
helps the society to evolve not to collapse.
Good design is 30% visual, not 90%.
A lot of beginner designers and amateur designers think that design is all about looks. But it is not.
If a chair looks cool but when you sit on it your back will hurt, that is a bad designed chair.
Design uses a lot of visual criteria but it also uses marketing, consumer psychology, engineering,
ergonomics, cultural references etc. That is the mistake made by designers who studied design at
art schools. They think design is all about visual. But it is not. Design is a very complex profession
and in that matter has a good side because you never get bored as a designer. You always
learn something new from the clients and the projects you work on.