Sunday, January 3, 2010

Non-Exhaustive Qualities of Good Design

So, now we must establish what GOOD design is - not an easy task. As stated before, there is no all-encompassing test, no standard in the aether by which we measure all.

This is, by no means, an exhaustive series of questions. This is meant to help you analyze a single piece of design. Here we go:

Communication : Does it communicate? And does it communicate what it intended? And if it has communicated effectively, does it accomplish what it set out to achieve?

Balance & Proportion : Is there a good balance and use of space? If not, was it purposeful? Are the elements in good proportion to one another? Why or why not?

Use of Elements : Is there one primary element that draws you? Is this element a central focus? If not, does it detract from the whole of the design? What is the purpose of multiple elements? Do they serve a "whole"? With the elements used, is the piece, as a whole, strong or fragile?

Originality : Is the piece original?

Interest & Movement : Is the piece interesting? Is it compelling? Does it inspire? Do you want to see it again?

Permanence : Does it endure? Is it timeless? Does it transcend an era, movement, or trend?

Transcendence : Will it stand up to "abuse"? In other words, if there is visual distortion/noise, blur, or distance that affect its communication or distinction, this weakens the piece.


1. "Rules" and qualities of design can be broken in order to communicate effectively.

2. This was a cursory examination. These qualities can easily be broken down into full posts, if not essays on their own.

3. If there is an overly-serious quality to these posts, I am trying to tackle major issues that have permeated the design industry for decades. We hunt a behemoth.

"He tasks me; he heaps me; i see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it."