Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Through the Looking Glass

In "Smokes and Mirrors," the author claims that design is more of an art than a science, and that emperical research is nothing short of bullshit for measuring design. I think the man has a point. In its essence, the article reinforces the seemingly irrelevant stories of nirvana, samurais, enlightenment and design, which after a LITTLE thinking, I realised that the bottomline of all this is: Being a good designer is all about belief. Which means, even though there are some guildlines to good design and blah blah, in the end, it comes down to the mind. You can only be a good designer if you believe that you are a good designer.

In the terms of philosophy, good design is like true opinion, something that one must believe and make others believe in as well, and not so much about knowledge, something that can be picked up and passed down. In other words, talentless chums like me will propably never become the inherently good designers, as much as i am an appreciator. So, the next best thing that I can do will be marketing.

The implications of this article bear heavily on the aspects of psychology, branding and marketing. And I have personally always been a believer of marketing. In fact, the article only served to reinforce that good design in our society is mainly a matter of pooled opinions, that is context and time sensitive, and seriously emperical research has nothing to do with it.

Take the ipod for example, people will say how creative is better and all that crap, but when it comes to it, ipod wins partially due to the design of the device and how the design and branding is marketed to the masses. Personally, I heard of the very ipod before i saw it, and my friends were telling me how cool it was, how sleek it looked and all that crap. And honestly, when i first saw it, I wasn;t very impressed. I mean, yes, it was cool and all, but definitely underwhelming as compared to how my friends described it.

But things changed when i bought my ipod mini. Suddenly, I was a believer in the brand and i was not afraid to flaunt it, or feel the sexy curves of the little baby, or admire its design. The difference between the two mindsets before and after were all due to the marketing and branding of the ipod, they sold their brand to me, and they made me BELIEVE that it was a good design. And honestly, even if Creative were to do all the emperical research in the world and now tell me that their mp3 players are more ergonomically designed or what not, it still wouldn';t change my mind about which design is superior, underlining the implication of the article.

After reading the article, I also started to think that a good design would probably be inherently obvious, and intuitively distinguishable from the get-go, and not need all the research to reinforce it. This relates back to the first time i saw the motorola razr on a poster. I remember seeing the poster and IMMDIATELY telling myself, "wow, cool phone." It was only later, that I noticed the words at some corner saying, "voted best phone of 2005." And seriously, i wouldn't really care even if the words wouldn;t there, since i would still think it is a cool design.

Hence, these examples only further highlight that design is so much more of an art than a science, and all the research in the world, will probably not amount to the same weightage as creating a good design, that will strike an affective chord within a person, and generating a positive respones from the person. But just as art, good design is often a relative experience, and is considered good as long as there are enough people who believe in it to be good, and are willing to advocate its good-ness.


Post a Comment

<< Home