A Manifesto On The Rules Of Design
Just Another Manifesto
It seems there are always ideas to determine what is good design, what is the most valuable and effective and what rules a good designer should follow. However, rules don’t always apply. Perspective is dependent on the individual designer, their experiences, their culture, their society, their needs and their beliefs. A designer’s production practice is based on what is important to them and sometimes the rules just don’t apply.
All design is created in context, the context of the designer. It seems like an impossible task to consistently produce designs that follow all the rules implemented in design that revolve around sustainability, longevity, aesthetics and practicality. This manifesto argues against the confining laws of design to encourage the consistent innovation and development of designers.
When Rules Don’t Apply..
– Context of the designer and their experience defines the necessity of longevity –
As Dieter Rams states, “Good Design is Long Lasting” (Vitsoe, n.d., Para 9) a statement that strikes much debate over the sustainability of long-lasting products and the consequences it may have on the environment.
However when discussing longevity from the perspective of a designer it is purely subjective to the designer how necessary this may be. Such as with William Kamkwamba who constructed a windmill to generate electricity to his house. He redesigned the windmill components and added more parts to make the design most effective for him, this design and effort was praised worldwide for its innovativeness. The design did not follow the 10 requirements of good design, and its unstable structure was made from discarded trash, but in the context of the designers lifestyle, and the resources available, his design was revolutionary in its simplicity.
-Short term goals over long term effects-
Sustainable design holds increasing importance in current design practices, and it is an important tool for designers to be aware of, however, it is not an essential element to create an effective design product. In instances where an immediate solution is required, such as when natural disasters occur, focus should be placed on the short term goal of fixing the solution. The concerns over sustainable materials may hinder the otherwise immediate action and solution. The matter of sustainability and its importance is relative to what the designer deems important in the situation.
Sustainability also creates a hindrance on development and design innovation. Designers are taught to concern themselves with unnecessary waste production and therefore unnecessary design. However, by limiting this simple design process it is inadvertently limiting design development and therefore the development of the designer.
-Practicality and functionality over aesthetics. Simple-
There has been much discussion over which element is most necessary for successful design, where aesthetics are favored for consumer culture, however in many instances, the aesthetics of a design do not affect the functionality and therefore the quality of the product. It is not essential for a design to be aesthetically pleasing when it is functional and effective “ while aesthetics can enhance a design they are not essential to its success in the same way that function is.” (Knight, 2016, Para 15). Products that are needed but not necessarily desired for example medical tools, are not required to be attractive for a surgeon to perform well with them. Other examples of equipment, such as trolleys, safety equipment and other tools have a priority on the function of the product, aesthetics have the potential to hinder and change the functionality and are rightfully dismissed.
-When it provides no use but it provokes conversation-
Design goes further than the function of practicality and problem solving, it is a tool for challenging assumptions, posing questions and creating dialogue over issues. The practicality of the product does not hinder the effectiveness of the design, and the effectiveness is subjective to the designers intentions. A design is ultimately based around the designers views, values and beliefs and ultimately their experience and outlook on life. Provocative design is there to share their view and provoke other to discuss it.
The entire process of a designers problem solving practice is subjective to their experience, view and values. This combined, results in a solution that is individual to the designer, through implementing rules of design it is limiting the development of the designer.
Not following these rules still results in necessary, effective and quality products.
Kamkwamba, W. (2007). How I Built A Windmill (Video File). Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/william_kamkwamba_on_building_a_windmill#t-267245
Knight, A. (2016). Design Is Not Art. Retrieved from https://austinknight.com/writing/design-is-not-art/
Vitsoe. (n.d.). The Power of Good Design: Dieter Ram’s Ideology Engrained Within Vitsoe. Retrieved from https://www.vitsoe.com/gb/about/good-design