Design (2018 | Issue 3)

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Defining Design

Design is fascinating. It is present all around us, so much so, often we’re not even aware of it! It’s in the products we use, the buildings and kitchens we work in, the newspapers we read, the cars we drive and the mobile apps we can’t live without. What’s Up, Germany? takes a look at the broad range of design.

Design is a multi-faceted process that encompasses many disciplines and activities and can be applied to all aspects of life. It covers a variety of areas, from automobiles to video games, virtual reality to software interfaces, clothes to magazines, interiors to household appliances. But what exactly is design? Simply put, it is about envisioning and creating products or services that improve lives by solving a problem. So, design, first and foremost, addresses the needs of people. At its heart, it is user-centered. This calls for an in-depth understanding of human beings, materials and technology.

The Wide World of Design

There is a common misconception that design is about all things pretty. Sure, aesthetics does play a major role. Good design definitely catches the eye! It makes us stop in our tracks and linger a moment longer to appreciate it, but prettification is not the sole objective. It needs to also be purposeful. It’s about making a product functional so it is meaningful to the user. And how does it do that? By marrying art and science! The design process takes the creative aspect from art and the problem-solving aspect from science.

Let’s take a look at the different branches of design:

Getting Graphic!

There’s graphic design, which communicates visually through the use of illustration, typography and photography. Using computer software, a graphic designer combines text and pictures for advertisements, magazines and books. Interestingly, the term “graphic designer” was coined by the American illustrator and commercial artist William Addison Dwiggins back in 1922 while he was referring to himself.

Fashion Forward!

Fashion design is the art of creating clothing, accessories and footwear by applying design and aesthetics. It is influenced by culture and society and varies over time and place. A fashion designer is involved in the entire process, from conception to production. Modern fashion design consists of haute couture and prêt-à-porter or ready-to-wear.

Let’s take a look at the different branches of design:

Getting Graphic!

There’s graphic design, which communicates visually through the use of illustration, typography and photography. Using computer software, a graphic designer combines text and pictures for advertisements, magazines and books. Interestingly, the term “graphic designer” was coined by the American illustrator and commercial artist William Addison Dwiggins back in 1922 while he was referring to himself.

Fashion Forward!

Fashion design is the art of creating clothing, accessories and footwear by applying design and aesthetics. It is influenced by culture and society and varies over time and place. A fashion designer is involved in the entire process, from conception to production. Modern fashion design consists of haute couture and prêt-à-porter or ready-to-wear.

Interiors

Interior design is the arrangement of man-made spaces. It is a process of decorating the interior of a building or room to make it more aesthetic, safe and functional for the people inhabiting the space. This field covers fittings, furnishings, decorative objects, colour schemes, lighting and materials.

Industrial & Product Design

Earlier, designers were artists and craftspeople who created specialised objects that weren’t designed for the masses and were expensive. Post the Industrial Revolution, more people had access to products, since they were now being produced en masse, making them available and affordable. Likewise, furniture, electronics, household appliances and tools became more accessible. And with that, industrial design was born. The first industrial designer is often considered to be the German architect Peter Behrens. Industrial designers focus on the appearance of a product and its functionality, the manufacturing process and the value and experience it provides. This field is greatly influenced by new technologies which allow industrial designers to improve and redesign products.

Differentiating industrial and product design is difficult, since they sometimes overlap. Just like a dentist is a specialist within the medical field, a product designer is a specialist within the field of industrial design. Product designers are largely concerned with the relationship between products, systems and users. They conceptualise new products that render a service, with the exception of vehicles. That’s another field altogether: automotive design. With the introduction of computers, communication networks and powerful sensors, everyday products have become more complex, resulting in more specialisation in the digital field: UX design (user experience design) and UI design (user interface design). The world of design keeps getting richer!