What Is Object Design? Tim Parsons | SAIC

What Is Object Design? Tim Parsons | SAIC


– Design is an illusive term. We may think we know what it means, but the closer we look,
the more we see the word being used to mean many different things. As writer and design
educator, John Heskett, cleverly noted in his book: Design, A Very Short Introduction. It is possible to use all the many correct applications of the word. In a seemingly non-nonsensical, but grammatically correct sentence. Design, is to design a
design to produce a design. With so many uses of the
word, it is not surprising, that there is not one
single clear definition of what design is. What is clear though, is
that how someone chooses to define design, says much about their views on the subject, and how they choose to practice it. I’m going to share three quotes with you from three different object designers, and show you some images of their work. Think about what they say, and
how it relates to their work. Design means how something
works, not how it looks. The design should evolve
from the function. James Dyson. To James Dyson, the designer
of the cyclonic vacuum cleaner, design starts with
an engineering innovation, and the form is secondary. Form is nonetheless very
important in Dyson’s products, but he uses the form as
a means of expressing, rather than hiding the
engineering within the object. Design is the act of imposing one’s will on materials to perform a function. Ron Arad. To Rod Arad, renowned furniture designer, the innovative manipulation
of materials is his focus. Arad loves to experiment with materials and explore what they can do. He will often use materials
in surprising ways, such as in his famous book worm bookshelf. Design is about creatively
exploiting constraint. Nick Crosbie. For Nick Crosbie, his company Inflate, developed a vast range of
products with a manufacturing process used to make plastic inflatables. The challenge of limited resources is what drives the creative process. Although he was the
co-founder and CEO of Apple, and not one of their designers, Steve Jobs was heavily involved
in the design decisions for the Apple products
developed under his leadership. He says, “Design is not
just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” For Jobs, looks were important, but he understood that
especially with digital objects that we interact with, how they work is an essential
part of their design. So you can see that
designers form an opinion, about what design is. And this enables them to create a world, in which that view point is perpetuated through the work they produce.

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