My Speak > Good Design
What is good design? This gmail inbox I’m writing in is. The keyboard I’m typing on isn’t. My body is. A waterfall is. An Indian mud pot with a tap attached to it is. None pretend to be what they are not. And work wholeheartedly towards being purposeful with intent to be of use.
Must all good design be of use? I would say yes. Or it isn’t design. It is art. Created to please, to extract emotions perhaps, and to make a point. A luxury. A pursuit for creative minds. Beautiful. Arresting. But not design in itself.
Canvas is good design. Is non porous, resistant to wear and tear and is strong and easily molded into anything. The art on it may or not be depending on what purpose it seeks to serve, what its intent is – the toothbrush vs. the Mona Lisa. I think the toothbrush is better design. But I think a stick of Neem is even better. It isn’t wasteful. Does the same job and more and is sensitive to its surroundings. Comb vs. hands. Hands are better. Multi-tasking and a sustainable resource.
If the world were to maximise what is already given by nature, our bodies included, than we would require very few new things to be designed all over again. Often when we design, we mimic, and dress it up, like fireworks on a starry night, only it’s a show, and has no real substance, and often no improvement over the master design.
The master design. Good design is a quest for the master design. The unshakeable mould. The way to get somewhere in the most efficient effective, sensitive, insightful way possible.
Good design is like a good proverb. It survives generations and is important because it is useful. No one praises proverbs for the reasons they do poetry. Proverbs are storehouses of information and experience; whether they please or do not please, they rarely fail to be effective. So too of good design.
If it’s all so simple, then why is so difficult to comprehend. Why do we confuse decoration for design? Perhaps because we are not geared to understand simple. Because we understand complex things like art far more easily than we do design. We look and say, ah pretty, it moved me, it made me cry. But ignore the most perfect designs like step wells and the thumb. Art is open to view points, and therefore more democratic, such that it allows everyone an interpretation. A tree has no interpretation. It just is. It exists in variations of the same design. In various types and forms. Roots. trunk. Leaves. fruits. Seeds. You cannot say you hate good design. Because its nature of being purposeful makes it immune to judgement. You could hate good art though. Like a salt and peppershaker. All have holes. Though the shapes and forms change. The perfect design was the holes. Everything else is dressing.
The best way to judge/measure/evaluate design is to put it to use, see what like it has been done before, and what new has been explored in this version, for it will or is usually a version, see how sensitive it is to the environment it is created for.
Design is negative space – for it is not an end in itself. It exists to fulfill a need. The moment you recognise the negative space, you start to see the real outlines of design. And then your eyes will never be muddled with mere decoration again.
Filed under: Design Criticism | 16 Comments
Tags: Design Vs Art, Good Design, My Speak