Many people, including design agencies we've worked with, seem to have an idea that good design is something that is aesthetically appealing. Something that looks great is not good design. I'm not saying that it's bad design, in fact, aesthetic appeal is very important, but, creating visually appealing designs is only one element that contributes to a good design.
Design is a method of solving a problem, visual or physical. So, what is good design?
Good design accommodates a number of factors
- Information architecture
- and more...
Dieter Rams is a German industrial designer closely associated with the consumer products company Braun and functionalist industrial design. Back in the early 1980s, Dieter Rams was becoming increasingly concerned by the state of the world around him – “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colours and noises.” Aware that he was a significant contributor to that world, he asked himself an important question: is my design good design?
As good design cannot be measured in a finite way he set about expressing the ten most important principles for what he considered was good design. Here they are... (http://www.vitsoe.com/en/gb/about/dieterrams/gooddesign)
Good Design is
- Makes a product useful
- Makes a product understandable
- Long lasting
- Thorough, down to the last detail
- Environmentally friendly
- As little design as possible
Good design cannot be achieved by aesthetics alone. It’s a merger of all these principles into something that is meaningful and deliberate.
Dieter Rams talks to TV&A
50 years ago, record players didn’t look like machines. They looked like old-fashioned, brown wood furniture. But in 1956, Dieter Rams’s SK4 record player, nicknamed Snow White’s Coffin, changed all that.
So, what is good web design?
There are many different types of design, good web design often requires the designer to master many of these different design skills.
Graphic Design: the arrangement of type and images typically in 2D space
Interaction Design: "Interaction design is heavily focused on satisfying the needs and desires of the people who will use the product." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interaction_design)
User Interface Design: focuses on user interaction and experience
User Experience Design: incorporates aspects of psychology, anthropology, sociology, computer science, graphic design, industrial design and cognitive science.
Information Architecture: structuring and organizing the information in products and services, supporting usability and find-ability (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_experience_design)
Want to know more about how design works?
Check out this excellent guide by Wells Riley