How design is used in everyday life - where do we see design? How does it affect daily life?
Published: 29 July, 2018
In essence, design is a fairly simple concept – yet it is exactly that what makes it complex and difficult to implement correctly. When you sit back and evaluate what is around you, you will soon realise that everything is designed, sadly not everything is designed well. Frank Chimero was on point when he said that “People ignore design that ignores people”. The mere fact that design is present does not mean that it is a good design.
When you think of it, design is a multi-faceted “thing”. It can be a thought, a tangible product, an office time-out room, a shopping centre or even an experience such a theme park or a golf course. A design has many “abilities” if you can call it that, the fact that design can change someone’s life by providing them with a wheelchair that is battery operated, for example, is amazing. It can be life changing, empowering, exciting, beautiful and inspiring. However these outcomes can only be achieved when the human factor, it’s challenges, restrictions, wants and needs, are at the center of the design.
Waking up to an alarm clock on wheels – a design element that forces you to get out of bed to catch it in order to switch it off is evident of design in everyday life. The toothbrush holder that uses a suction cup to stick to your mirror is design – good or bad, is debatable. The nifty leather pouch that has a place for your iPhone, a charger, earphones, your tablet and a memory stick, is a great example of a design that has the user in mind. The car, train or scooter you use to commute to work on the roads or railway tracks each morning showcases design in your day to day life.
Design can affect your daily life in a positive and contributing way or it can make things more difficult than what it already proves to be. Design that focuses purely on aesthetics or the financial wellbeing of the designer, will most definitely not be of benefit to you. A tiling layout in a foyer for example that is extravagant and beautiful will be of little appreciation if it is slippery and hazardous to use. A personalised timber cell phone cover is “trendy”, but what will happen if you had to drop your phone? Odds are, the aesthetically pleasing “protective” cover will be the first to shatter, followed by the “extra sensitive touch screen for easy use”.
They say good design is obvious and great design is transparent. Great design will be a combination of form, function and intended purpose. That intended purpose should always be mindful of the human factor – not only the direct users, but also those indirectly affected. Using a battery powered wheelchair is empowering, it enables the user to move from point A to B without physical work, but what about the battery life, the supplier of the battery, the technicians needed to fix such a battery? Being restricted to your house as a wheelchair user limits your life experience, however allowing a wheelchair on the freeway, for example, might be a liberating thought, sadly the freeway is not designed for the wheelchair user and vice versa.
Don’t design for designers, always design for people. Follow your heart, but take your brain with you – bad design is not just ugly, it is dangerous. “Great design is not just a solution, it is the elimination of the problem.” – M. Cobanli.