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The Essence of Good Design

Apple knows good design, its product design is iconic and instantly recognizable even without their logo. The same cannot be said for most phones, which once unbranded would become a slurry of slabby plastic boxes.

When you put the effort into making something, it should be a reflection of your efforts. To simply produce a product for the sake of production is doing your brand a disservice. How customers perceive your brand is based on tactile sensation they have when handling the artifacts you produce.

If we were to distill the functional components of good design down to a few key elements, what would they be?

Understatement: This can’t be overstated enough, your design must integrate into the environment to be a good community participant. If it’s garish or otherwise intrudes it will be an unwelcome guest to its observer.

Endurance: You should explore various themes, and it’s certainly ok to reflect current trends. When we speak of endurance we don’t mean that the design is static and should never change. It should however allow you to reflect current times without losing the basic recognizable form of the original effort. The Coca-Cola bottle is a prime example of this.

Usefulness: The design should fulfill its intended purpose and do so with an intuitive simplicity. If should be as simplistic as possible in form and complete its task with an utter honesty of purpose. If there are any unneeded functions incorporated into the design, they should be eliminated.

Reading through those three highlights, you could derive that we mean design is meant to be boring and dull. If you are used to the overstated, overstimulated, and overly gadgety world we live in, this is a very reasonable conclusion to arrive at. However products that cut clear across categories and become iconic have none of those qualities, instead they come to represent new categories in and of themselves.