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Design

February 26, 2016  .  By Douglas Patrick Luke
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What is Design?

Many people think that design is just making things look good on the outside, but design is more than what it looks like. Design is a conceptualization of an idea, transformed into an outline, which helps to achieve an intended purpose, whether it's a building, a car, a watch, a picture, or any other product for that matter. It is an approach to making thoughtful decisions about all functional aspects of any given project. Steve Jobs said “Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But, of course, if you dig deeper, it’s how it really works.” It shouldn't be an afterthought, like slapping on a coat of paint or some other superficial exercise - it should be intrinsic.

The Nautilus - www.oliverwrightphotography.com

Design is generally considered unimportant among most people, particularly in our society, where rudimentary cost benefit analysis triumphs over and negates any intangibles that astute design offers. But good design usually accrues realized benefits, in the long term, that are well exploited by visionary individuals.

Good Design Is…

Innovative - Design doesn't occur in a straight line. Innovation is messy and design breakthroughs occur where there is room to explore. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.

Inspirational - It allows us to see what's possible. Apple has single handedly inspired its competitors to all produce better designed products. Frustration too can breed inspiration. If a need is not being met, that's an opportunity to fill that need creatively.

Invigorating - Feel the excitement when experiencing something that's well designed.

Emotional - Design is more than Function or Utility. Santiago Calatrava's bridges don't only just span rivers and lakes. Emotion is as important as utility - The things that we love to love are usually designs with more than functional considerations.

Elegant, Simple - “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” - Leonardo da Vinci. Half the art is knowing when to stop. Design often requires a distillation process that reduces an element to its purest form, which is generally its most elegant. Less, but better - pure and simple.

Empowering - An object or space that is well designed, when used, makes us feel better about ourselves.

Conscientious - Design is often used to help those in need like shelters for the homeless, water sterilization devices and solar lamps for communities without electricity.

Efficient - Constraints usually lead to delivering creative solutions with well thought out utility within a given budget.

Big & Small - It’s all in the details. Well designed details make a great project.

Sustainable - Well thought out design with human sensibility and sensitivity can be immortal.

Organic - It's as if there is no perfect design, there's always something that can be better. If allowed it never ends. The best design can be made better.

At the end of it all, its just plain fun. It's one of the few professions that still utilizes all the skills we enjoyed developing as kids... drawing, colouring, playing with putty, Lego, building models, creating computer imagery, making stuff and exploring and pursuing the crazy exploits of our imagination.