Monday, January 30, 2006

Good Design is Beautiful

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty...”
— John Keats (1795–1821)

When design is well-done it should be beautiful. This can be controversial, because many designs that win awards are not very beautiful. In fact, the ideas may be innovative, eye-catching, or even persuade an audience emotionally. But they cause the desire to look away but can't—like looking at a crime scene or a grizzly accident. This may be effective for solving a design problem where this is appropriate, like a public service announcement about drunk-driving.

This being the case, why would I stipulate beauty as so important to be included in my design philosophy. Because how we communicate and how we influence is just as important, if not more so, than the act of communicating or influencing.

For instance, the drunk driving public service announcement may use graphics to scare the audience to not drink and drive or alert the general public to the ramifications of drunk driving. It may be effective, but it is also manipulative. It is a weak approach for a weak message. "If you drink and drive, this can happen to you!" Wow! I better not drink, if I plan on driving.

It takes more work, and more thought, to craft a message that is both honest, and persuasive. In so doing, it is beautiful (even if the message and look is very serious). Beauty is the opposite of ugly. Beauty is harmonious. Beauty communicates order. Beauty communicates thought. Beauty persuades without manipulation. Beauty is graceful truth (even if the truth is unpleasant).

This is the 3rd out of 11 articles discussing, in detail, each point in my philosophy of design. My philosophy is discussed in my previous post.

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