Perhaps humans love design because we can instinctively recognize the ingenuity that goes into solving a problem. In an instant, great design connects us with the problem, the solution and the people on either end of it. We feel connected and that feels good.
Good design reflects human ingenuity, connecting us to that spark in the brain that pushes us all towards the future; the potential we all have for greatness.
We can marvel at a thing we don’t wholly understand, say the shape of an aircraft’s wing, we can appreciate its beauty on an aesthetic level. Compare an aircraft’s wing to the petal of a flower or the shape of a mollusk shell. There is a reason for their beauty.
Great design comes from solving problems that humanity faces. As a species, we are in a constant fight for survival. Inventions that help us survive and thrive as we hurtle through space are welcomed. Our designs are comforting. They reflect our tenuous place in the universe. They show us we belong and can endure.
Just as we can recognize when a design is real, we can also recognize when it’s not. Often a form or appearance has been copied and applied to a thing it doesn’t serve. It may fool us at first, but we’ll soon discover it’s not what it appears to be.
Poor design often reels us in only to disappoint and clutter our lives. Superfluous design is distracting and often a waste of our attention. A designer may tend towards decoration when the right solution remains hidden or if there is no clear problem to solve. The output of restless hands.
Design is humble and pragmatic. It should build upon the past when possible, eschewing the clever answer for a common-sense approach. In contrast, however, designers must also be ready to abandon out-moded paradigms in search of new solutions. It is in this struggle between innovation and conservation that designers have the opportunity to create both beauty and change in the world, something we can all love.