What is good design?
By Alice Rawsthorn Published: Friday, June 6, 2008
I've learned (the hard way) not to do it, but if random strangers - like taxi drivers, or whoever's sitting on the next airplane seat - ask what I do and I'm rash enough to confess to being a design critic, they invariably follow up with: "So what is good design?"
The stock answer is that good design is generally a combination of different qualities - what it does, what it looks like, and so on. But as our expectations of design change, so do those qualities and the relationship between them. Let's look at what they are - and where they stand - right now:
This is the nonnegotiable. Whatever it is, and whatever other great qualities it has, it can't be well designed if it doesn't do something useful. Even better is if that something couldn't have been done before. That's always been so, all the way back to the early 200s B.C. when Emperor Qin Shihuangdi conquered China equipped with a very early example of good design. The armies of the day were led by archers who made their own weapons, with the result that each archer's arrows could only be fired from his own bow. Qin insisted that all arrows be made to the same length with identical, replaceable tips. If an archer ran out during a battle, he could use his colleagues', and if he died, his ammunition wasn't wasted.
Even today it's possible for something to qualify as good design simply by fulfilling its function efficiently. Take Google's.....read more ...New York Times
Good design from Artisan Canada below: