Design is not about making things pretty.
Sure, you think about the visual aspect, how it looks or feels. But the end result’s main component is not just artistic sense, inspiration and creativity. It’s also about research, rules, restraints and lots of pondering regarding the best way to present what, at first, is a chaotic mix of ideas, tendencies and hopes. It’s about striking the proper balance between looks and functionality, between modern and usable, between cost and quality.
Architects don’t dream only of futuristic and elegant shapes, they’re also concerned with structural integrity, flow, ease of access or intimacy, materials, weight, pressure and resilience.
Composers don’t hear only “the beat”: there has to be a certain natural flow with specific accents and key lows. Those that make you wonder and dive into pleasure are the ones that vibrate with you on the same wavelength: they “guessed” in advance your preference for pinching your synapses in a certain order, with a certain strength and fluid slide on the keys of a piano or the chords of a cello. Or an electribe.
Design is about solving problems.
And creating the proper shells for a character that may have yet to be crystallized. Because, at first, it’s chaos.
Imagine you are faced with the enthusiasm of the likes of Henry Ford or Karl Benz and had to fit in that awesomely ugly new piece of technology under the hood of an elegant novelty.
You make sure it’s intuitive by offering the layout similar to a carriage, ensure the elegance using galvanized levers, leather seats and carefully crafted finishes, while keeping costs to a minimum by using all those only in key areas.
Sure, intuition, creativity and synesthesia might save the day. But they need something worth saving. That often comes up after days, weeks and months of research, testing, blood on the walls and relentless pursuit of something that you have no idea how it will look like but you sure know how it should behave.
It’s about team work. And ultimately, feeling pretty about your contribution.