According to Tim Antoniuk, an Associate Professor of Design Studies at the University of Alberta, we can all intuitively sense what good design is and isn't.
"Quite often, this relates to ergonomics and the usability or functionality of the products and services and systems," he told Fashion Life in one interview.
For Antoniuk, good design is "intuitive, [...] deeply sympathetic and empathetic to the user at all levels, and at some level, it is emotional."
So as much as we at Fashion Life like to make fun of crappy design, this time we decided to compile a different kind of list. Whether it's a space-saving Tetris cat tower or a skatepark shaped like bacon and eggs, continue scrolling and check out these prime examples of human ingenuity.
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Back in the late 1970s, Dieter Rams, a German industrial designer, was becoming increasingly concerned by the state of the world around him. He called it "an impenetrable confusion of forms, colors, and noises."
Realizing that he was a significant contributor to that world, Rams asked himself an important question: is my design good design?
His answer is expressed in his ten principles for good design.
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1. Good design is innovative. Technological development is constantly offering new opportunities for innovative design; innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.
2. Good design makes a product useful. People buy products to use them. It has to satisfy certain criteria, it has to emphasize the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding things that could lessen it.
3. Good design is aesthetic. The beauty of a product is integral to its usefulness because the products we use every day affect us and our well-being. A product can't be well-executed if it is not beautiful.
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4. Good design makes a product understandable; it clarifies the product's structure. Better still, it can make the product "talk." If a product is designed flawlessly, it is pretty much self-explanatory.
5. Good design is unobtrusive. Products fulfill a purpose. They're like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, leaving room for the user's self-expression.
6. Good design is honest. It does not try to manipulate the consumer; it doesn't promise what it can't deliver.
7. Good design is long-lasting. It avoids fashion trends so therefore it never appears like an antique from the middle ages. Unlike fashionable design, good design lasts many years – even in today's fast-paced world.
8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail. Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance: care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the user.
9. Good design is environmentally friendly. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.
10. Good design is as little design as possible. You've heard it a thousand times, less is better. As cliché as it sounds, Dieter Rams believes it to be true. Good design concentrates on the essentials and does not place unnecessary burdens on the product.
Do you think Rams would like this list? Tell us in the comments!