The Art of Design


“Good design is unobtrusive. Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art.

Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.”

— Dieter Rams

One of the 10 principles of good design by Dieter Rams emphasises what separates “design” from “art” — its purpose.

Art is expression of an individual opinion, emotion, and imagination. There is no requirement to create something functional, and often artists don’t care at all about satisfying the aesthetic views of others. Art is primarily about the self exploration and expression of the artist.

Design on the other hand is not about the designer at all — but rather about the usefulness of the product. The focus should not be on the designer, but the users. Design should start and finish with an obsession about the job-to-be-done — which requires deep consideration and care about the user. Poor design often results when the designer focuses too much on how it looks – overemphasising the visual aspects – and in doing so, allows the mere visual aspects to get in the way of how it works.


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