Information on ‘good design’ is hard to come by. There are many books that contain collections of what the compiler thought was representative of exciting, groundbreaking, clever or contemporary designs. There are books on design that is considered ‘classic’. We could ask the question, why is it considered a classic? Is it that a long life-span or memorability indicated good design? Usually ‘good ‘design’ is conferred on a piece that simply and effectively communicates its message. Peer review works for scientific papers but doesn’t mean much with design. Getting a design award from other designers is nice but doesn’t mean the piece of design was successful, only that other designers liked it.
At the profession level your business is working at, it’s probably safe to say that you won’t encounter or commission ‘bad’ design. It’s a bit like if you were to buy a new car, there are really no ‘bad’ cars as there once were. All new cars meet a very high standard of performance and safety (barring recent Toyota recalls of course!). The question instead become – how can you get more effective design? How can you communicate better through your design?
In good product design, form follows function – there is no need for ‘go faster stripes’ or as Alec Issigonis, the designer of the Mini put it, ‘spoiling good design with gargoyles’. It’s actually the same with graphic design.
So good design is simply – “does it work?”.
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