Great Design – Defined

What is good design? I asked friends and colleagues what good design is. Most of them answered naming a few products or mentioning a designer’s name. I felt that these answers were not getting to the essence of what good design is or even better, what great design is. Read below my attempt to answer this seemingly easy question.

Great designs are those that successfully balance beauty and function in the context they are going to be used.

There is a very fine line between successfully balanced designs and other designs in which the aesthetics or the function are misused or overdone. A balanced design is evidence of maturity and common sense when making decisions about the appropriate amount of beauty or function a specific design needs.

Context is very important since one particular design is unlikely to be successful in two different scenarios. Context can be defined by time: what worked yesterday may not work today; by culture: what works in the West may not work in the East; by economic situation: what is successful in thriving economy may not be pertinent in a recession.

I believe this definition applies to all types of designs in different segments of the industry: graphic, fashion, product, interiors and architecture. However, if you think there may be some exceptions, I invite you to share your thoughts and hopefully contribute with additional insights on this topic.

Manuel Saez