The feeling for design is as old as mankind. The materials for design are millions of years older. Design is considered a man-made expression, yet its roots reach back into the beginnings of the earth. Primeval eras manifested Design through the expression of natural laws of growth and formation.
The Understanding of the origins of forms and processes is of inestimable value to the designer. An exploration of the natural rhythms and the ability to see eternal forms, which outlast all man's activities, are a challenge to the designer. The designer will need to see life wholly and contribute to it a sense of purpose.
2. Characteristics of Design:
The Designer will find no rules or formulas to help him in his search for expression. He will not even find a simple definition for design. Being an expression of man's own reaction or experience, design is as individual as the person who creates it. There are however, certain characteristics that can be associated with any good design.
2.1 A Plan of Order:
Order has been the cornerstone of creativity. The world began when order was created from chaos. Confusion or nothingness gave way to form and order, that is, to Design. As man evolved into an intellectual being, his need for order found expression in his habitat.
Habitat: The palace, the temple, the cathedral, the mausoleum, the skyscraper developed from a feeling of design arising from the need to divide the simple cave into areas for dining, sleeping and leisure.
Order, or Design, can in fact be interpreted as the foundation of all living. Any good design is, first of all, a plan for order.
A Combodian Palace.
A Nepalese Temple Shrine.
A Mausoleum in Chicago.
2.2 Expression of the Material:
The earth is an interwoven tapestry of life composed of blocks of field and forest, of plowed ground, of towns and cities. It is the very character of the earth coming to its surface from deep within: the areas of fertility yielding patches of green or gold; the towns and cities, with their deeply rooted networks of pipes, gas and electric lines, railways, marked by a richly textured area of concrete, glass, steel, trees, streets with thousands of people and their perplexities.
Any design should be an expression of its materials, rather than an external attempt at decoration.
A Port Town in Europe
A Settlement in England
2.3 Fulfillment of Purpose:
Purpose in nature is usually involved in survival. A tree grows in a certain shape to survive in a constricted area. Fish develops fins so as to move through water, find food and safety from predators. In man's design, purpose is concerned with other levels of activity. An effective design will fulfill its purpose.
Fulfilled purpose is exhibited in the totem poles created by Indians of the Pacific Northwest. Stylized characters of exciting variety are carved into the huge poles of the Northwest cedars, adding tremendous drama and meaning to the depiction of the history of the clan. Even the colors have meaning.
One of the most functional uses of design is in the creation of architecture. A well-designed building will have a floor plan, which makes a good two dimensional design on paper. The linear ground plan which shows variety in the layout of the space, harmonious arrangement of sizes and shapes representing rooms, and a pleasing rhythm in the flow of traffic from area to area will, when built, result in a structure that is satisfying and functional in its 3D form.
In the early 20th century, Frank Lloyd Wright revolutionized architecture with his organic designs springing from their native settings and expressing man's essential needs. Contemporary architecture follows the principles followed by him where shelters are constructed according to the vital requirements of the occupants, with the structure evolving outwards. For integrity of design, buildings should be created for the life within them. The floor plan thus became all-important and the exterior is adapted to it in an attractive and functional way.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Allen-Lambe House above, built in 1915, and it’s drawing below.
2.4 Relationship to Natural Laws of Growth and Order:
Nature is the supreme master of inherent design. The smallest granite pebble has its patterns, resulting from centuries of building up and washing away until the round smooth core of design remains, each one unique.
The trunks of trees are rich in design, drawn in concentric circles through the seasons, then twisted into writhing lines and textures by winds and snows and lightning, hostile elements which serve to improve the tree's own intrepid character. The outer bark has an individual design quality. Each has its own design – a beauty of color, texture, or line that has been part of the tree from its beginning.
There exist eternal laws of growth and order. Each blade of grass unfolds in an orderly way characteristic of its kind. The leaves of every tree and plant evolve in precise sequence. Though growth frequently leads to disorder, the cycle of nature adds quality. Each facet of growth is accomplished according to basic and orderly procedures.
An authentic design is related to the basic natural laws of growth and order.
Snowflakes, though following basic growth patterns, are never exactly alike. Seashells are never identical. The artist who would create truly original dreams must learn to see the individuality of his inspirations and to respect it. One must train the eyes to look beneath the general shape of things to the variation that creates interest. An interesting design has individuality.
It is a fundamental law of science that nothing new is created in the world of matter. Even in design, every design is based on age-old forms, whether these are found in nature or are simple geometric lines and figures used in an abstract way. A talent for design, using elements and methods long grown old, can bring forth freshness and originality in its own inimitable style.
3. Design and Living:
A creative mind is an orderly mind, a mind that sorts and arranges for creative use:
Whether it is figures, with a statistician;
Whether it is facts, with a historian;
Whether it is theories, with a scientist.
Whether it is melodies, with a composer.
Design is not limited to attractive manifestations. Carefully orchestrated crimes, or military maneuvers are some examples. Many people do not realize that they are unconsciously creating design in the orderly way in which they approach the tasks of everyday life. As life becomes more complex, man’s survival is going to depend increasingly upon design.
One of the most basic functions of the designer is the necessity to see life whole and to assign to it a sense of purpose. There are neither rules for creating designs nor any simple definition of design itself. Yet there are certain characteristics, which can be found in any good design.
4. Characteristics of Effective Design:
• A design is a plan of order.
• A good design is a expression of its material.
• An effective design fulfills its purpose.
An authentic design is related to the basic laws of growth and order. An interesting design has individuality.
‘Lota’ is an example of very effective design due to the multiplicity of it uses scenarios. The form can be made in a variety of materials.