The Method: Thinking about design

There is both delight and drama to design.

Whether it is a building that leaves you awestruck or the beauty in an everyday object fit-for-purpose; design has a magical quality.

When we travel the world it is often to admire design. To be inspired by the creativity of Gaudi in Barcelona, or be challenged by the brutalist form of Trellick Tower by Erno Goldfinger in London, and carried away by the deconstructionist designs of Zaha Hadid.

“Design can be art. Design can be both beauty and function. Design is so simple, that is why it is so complicated,”

Paula Scher, the graphic designer and painter once pointed out.

So when we talk about a love of design, what does it mean?

Consistency and Cohesion

“Styles come and go. Good design is a language, not a style,”

said Italian designer Massimo Vignelli, the modernist master who created New York’s distinctive subway map and signage system.

A holistic, legible and recognisable design signature sits at the heart of the world’s most iconic design brands. Whether it is the edited elegance of an Apple product, or the way Arne Jacobsen communicated a clear aesthetic through every touch point of the SAS Hotel in Copenhagen, a distinct language sits at the heart of design.

We see it in architecture and interiors when we look at the works of the late Zaha Hadid – regardless of the brief, scale or context, her futuristic approach is recognisably individual and memorable.

People at the heart

As a partnership Ray and Charles Eames deeply understood the interface between design and people. No wonder they created an object as beautiful as it is delightful and practical.

“The role of the designer is that of a good, thoughtful host anticipating the needs of his guests,”

he said. Adding that: “Recognising the need is the primary condition for design.”That’s where great design is centred around people – it pre-empts the needs of others. When we are talking about buildings, design should create environments that foster emotional resonance and feel good to be in.

Softening the edges

“Make it simple but make it significant.”

The writer who penned those words for Mad Men’s fictional Don Draper character was onto something when considering how small touches can transform.

Simple ideas that have been around for generations – such as the use of greenery in our urban environments – can completely change the experience of a space. Greenery can soften, add depth, make a space feel more welcoming, calming and more nurturing.

It’s these decisions to add emotional depth through design that make a place memorable.

Design reinvents

“Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future,”

said graphic designer and author Robert L Peters.

If you were unconvinced about how design shapes your life, listen to Robert.

Design makes the world go around. There is no such thing as no design, just good and bad design – and even that is subjective. Design is how we experience life, how things work and how to be inspired every day by all that is around you.


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