What Are Your Principles of Good Design? (Featured)

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by: Design Translator

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Particularly because I frequently like to consolidate my design thinking, and had noticed many designer anchoring their work on some kind of design philosophy or thinking. Similarly, Dieter Rams’ 10 Commandments helped define him as a designer, and perhaps by identifying these Principles or Laws could do the same for me as well.

Personally, this was something I never really thought of doing, as I often saw myself as a reflection of the trends of time. Furthermore I particularly never like imposing my thoughts on others, nor do not want to come across as a high brow know-it-all. The end result is my encouragement of designers, that I work with, to develop their own thinking instead. Hey, this perhaps is a design philosophy after all?

But as I see this blog as a great place for discussion, I thought it would be a good place to put up my working list for feedback. Do note this list is by no means definite, nor am I looking to impose my thoughts or beliefs on you. Please consider it as a work in progress, and also what I think rather than what should be.

[ Good Design ] ~

1. is a good investment.
This originally started as “Good Design is Good Business” courtesy of Mr. Watson. However in today’s business environment, I belief most people understand this concept, but not many actually see it as an investment that has tangible returns. Therefore most Return on Investment (ROI) calculations can apply here. This means there has to be risk assessments, planning, budget controls, and long term goals set out. It is not, and should never be about making something look good and flogging it for extra cash.

2. does not discriminate.
Good design is all encompassing and unifying. It should not just be about the product or look. It should include every single aspect that circulates around a product, including things like experience, usability, packaging and branding. Design thinking can and should be applied into all aspects of the business and organization.

3. does not exist in vacuum.
Nothing comes from nothing. I find the best designs are the right ones for the context it is developed in. Good understanding of user needs, a critical insight on a problem, and a well defined brief is vital for producing the best designs.

4. satisfies all requirements.
A design cannot be successful if it does not satisfies all requirements of the business and development constraints. This is to a certain extent about compromise, but it is also about prioritizing, and ensuring that you win the war not the battles. Pick your fights and learn to negotiate.

5. is beautiful.
I don’t think too much needs to be said here, but our visual sense is one of the strongest of our 5 senses. There is no justification for bad design or idea. In other words you cannot polish crap. So be self critical instead of letting the market tell you otherwise.

6. is innovative, intuitive and clever.
The purpose here is to go beyond aesthetic or focusing too much on the look of a product. (Just in case point 5 threw you off, heh heh!)

7. is strategic.
This last one, I think is the most important. Design has to be at the highest level of decision making, and part of why an organization exists. My favorite thought is that it should have a vital function in any organization, just like accounting or logistics.

So what do you think of my Principles of Good Design? Why not have your own say by commenting or sharing your own Principles of Good Design? Talk soon!

Original Post: http://www.designsojourn.com/2008/03/26/what-are-your-principles-of-good-design/