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Design, more than just beauty.

Written by Goodwerp on Friday, September 12, 2014

A beautiful form and knife

Photo by Alexander Stein

Unless people have had a class on design, or are designers themselves, there is a very high degree of certainty that design as a craft is disregarded as unimportant. With time there has been a distortion of the perception of what design actually entails. There is a notion among non-design understanding people that design is something that has to do with beauty, is expensive and only artsy people are involved in it. Nowhere in their heads is the actual purpose of design, which is that design is the ultimate exercise in utility. Designers are not people that beautify stuff; they are the ones that make stuff useful. The adjective ‘better’ wouldn’t even exist without designers. Understanding what design is, gives you the opportunity to appreciate the world around you.

To explain it more simply, designers aren’t just deciding whether the chair should be red or purple. They go to extreme lengths in contemplating the number of legs, the shape of the backrest, the width of the armrests, the materials involved and even the making process. The color choice is probably the easiest decision.

After that first paragraph, you begin to think about other things other than beauty. That’s not the intention. Beauty is part of the equation. It’s an objective concept that is intended to communicate in the quickest form possible. It’s what makes things attractive for people, and difficult for designers. Boundaries are pushed and sometimes moved because of this. New materials have to be invented for beauty.

Sometimes it is the driving force for advancement of various fields. Apple invented a whole manufacturing process in order to make beautiful aluminium laptops. Harley Davidson had to work with other car companies so it could make a bent frame without welding. Countless painting methods were invented just so an artist can fully express himself. This means that designers not only think about making things beautiful, but also HOW to make things beautiful.

In addition to ‘how’, a designer is very much involved in the ‘what’. To explain this better, try and think what makes a fork beautiful. What makes a watch beautiful? This is not easy stuff. It is much more difficult than deciding what kind of color a chair should have. You know a beautiful watch when you see one, but you can’t explain why it’s beautiful.

Also, the most important of all, designers are people that are able to imagine all of that before setting out to work. Yes, this is why most people are not proud of their work in art class in school. We set out to make a masterpiece and the most we can accomplish is a place on our parents’ fridge or shelf. On the other hand, being able to imagine and design beauty, is a talent that few possess. To improve on something with ingenuity. To make you feel comfortable, useful, envious. Design does all of that.

This blog post talks about design, because here at Goodwerp we understand its importance. Our designers undertake very complicated tasks, and sleep uncomfortably until they achieve a piece of work that makes the whole team proud. We not only understand design, we live it. We utilize beauty to achieve.

Read next: Whatever works, works!

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