What makes Good design Good?
The ancient Greeks considered beauty a science, a set of principles that were universal. Aesthetics, the perception of what is pleasing to our eyes, is a series of objective standards, transcending time and culture. We call those objects "classic" like the little black dress ala Coco Chanel. Okay, skip the cigarette. Other than Mad Men, so non-au courant.
So, where does that leave taste and the adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder? These questions continue to be debated in all design disciplines.
Design is intention. Does a design accomplish what the creator expected it to? Does it bring about the intended reaction? Is our intention to create harmony or chaos. We should know beforehand.
To create, whether it's an interior space, a musical score, or a painting, it helps to first be able to analyze the components of design. What are the most basic building blocks, or elements of a composition we call a design?
For some, this will be a refresher; for others perhaps a new way to organize what may be instinctive. Like playing jazz, first understand the rules then feel confident to break them. Like a recipe, each ingredient plays its part. A good cook follows exactly; a great cook puts a spin on it.
, simply put, gives direction to a space. Horizontal lines create a connectedness to the earth, a sense of stability, like horizon we expect to always be there. Vertical lines are more dynamic and denote strength while diagonal lines provoke tension. Curved lines evoke a sense of envelopment, or nurturance.
Shape is two-dimensional and when depth, the third dimension is added, we have form.
Compare the serenity of Wright's Fallingwater against, well, you get the picture.
Pattern is a repetition of a motif, either structural like the intricate carvings of the Alhambra, or applied such as a striped printed wallpaper. Some are geometric; others organic...realistic, stylized or abstracted. A fave fabric of mine is the African kuba cloth shown here a plenty.
Texture describes the surface, either as a tactile or touching sensation or its visual effect. When we play down color in design it's best to play up texture for interest. Shiny and rough are just two shown here.
Scaleis a comparison between two or more objects regarding dimension. We often use the size of a person as the point of comparison when dealing with the "built environment" such as architecture and interior spaces.
Human scale is intimate; grand scale makes the object monumental in comparison to us. Grand Central Terminal is just one example.
Oh, we wee commuters.
provides not only visibility for mobility and activity but conveys a mood or feeling. Light can create drama. Without light there is no color. Karim Rashid isn't afraid of either.
Color is thought to be
the most recognizable design element, a powerful tool that gives a space personality.
Are the colors we pick intense or dull, light or dark or actually without color like black, white and gray? Which color combinations are calming? Which are dynamic?
How do they effect our mood? (Another topic in the wings; note Webinar below).
See how much the textural basket ups the ante in this otherwise neutral kitchen. No need to pump up the interior on the left with its vivid contrasting color scheme.
Take a look around. What do you see?
Are your elements playing nicely together in the sandbox? Or, is one a bully? Maybe it's really a focal point which brings me to our next topic..."principles of design" in the next installment.
Please share a photo for a second opinion. I'd love to see your choice of "good design" or "needs improvement" for my expert (and friendly) advice.