What is design and what makes design good?
In The Story of Design by Marion Downer she describes design as follows, “Design is the expressive shaping of contours and decorative spacing of an area into parts.” She states that, “A design can express a thought, a feeling. But its greatest purpose is to give enjoyment.” There are three elements that I pull from Marion.
The first is design is Expression - What is expression? Could it be another word for creation? If expression is creation then how does one explore creation in design?
The second element of design is what Marion calls “spacing of an area into parts” or how I interpret it as parts that create a whole – What are the parts of a design that create a whole and how is the whole design reflective of its parts?
The third aspect of design and seemingly most important is Enjoyment – How does one enjoy the end product of designers intent?
I believe that design is an extension of creativity, it can be functional or impractical but it always provokes a feeling from within. Design is an essential part of storytelling or communication and the story can be told from many different angles. Consider creating the perfect bottle of wine, what does it take to nurture the soil to grow the perfect grapes, ripe with complexity? How does one bring forth the vulnerability it takes to design the ideal loving relationship? What does it take for the thrashing of the ocean waves to conceive a smooth stone of glass from a once jagged surface? Design is natural.
The expressions of design elements are most successful when what is being expressed comes from the heart. When expression is honest then the design is good. A completed design, weather it’s the interior living space or a four-course meal is nothing without the elements that come together to create it. The interior living space must be functional and visually appealing. The four-course meal is not complete if there is no entrée. Without the functionality or the entrée neither design is complete.
“The best way to play for a lovely moment is to enjoy it.” Richard Bach
If the end product of a design is not enjoyable and does not give pleasure, then the design is unsuccessful and therefore not good. The reality of the creative process of design is there are many factors that go into making a design “good”, and what makes design good is purely up to interpretation.
"Design is conceived when an inherent need to be creative manifests itself into physical or visual form."