DESIGN SIMPLICITY

I am a mechanical engineer by background. Even before starting my engineering degree my ambition was to create new designs. After finishing my engineering postgraduate studies and being involved in engineering for about 10 years, I was convinced design is the way forward for me.
In my believe design is for industry what alphabet is for literature. Everything so far created or invented has some kind of design. But sometimes I ask myself why design is less appreciated and invested in. This was one reason I decided to do a more direct design course at Central Saint Martin, University of the Arts, in London.
I take my design job very seriously. I tend to give my clients as much information as possible. To be honest I go as far as and just stop telling them their idea may not have a market. With two kids and like many other people I work for money too. This is the only reason I do not tell them their idea may not be a winner. Anyway ideas have their own sessions. What today is not sellable next year maybe.
From the beginning of my design, I tend to consider manufacturing, assembly, maintenance and also the environment. However for me simplicity is one of the main decision factors in selecting the best design idea from a selection. Technically speaking I believe simple designs are better but there are times I ask myself do the consumers want simple design too. Aesthetically, it seems some consumers think design simplicity equals luxury. As an engineer simple design equals to good design for these reasons;

  • Simple design is easier for consumer to use.
  • At least in some cases simple design can be more functional.
  • A simple design is manufactured and produced more easily.
  • Simple design has less maintenance and repair time.
  • Sometimes simple designs cost less for consumer too.

However, how far a designer can go to achieve this?

Won’t over simplification give a cheap image to a design?

What do you think? Where one draws the line for simplicity?

Thank you for reading.

Hass
Creative Director
http://www.AID4design.com

Wow… . that’s a lot to read without any paragraph breaks. :neutral_face:

With two kids and like many other people I work for money too. This is the only reason I do not tell them their idea may not be a winner.

A bit disingenuous don’t you think? Part of your job as a professional “designer” is to assist your client in the decision whether, or not, to go forward with a concept. If you are not doing that, you are leading your client on … in my opinion.

What do you think? Where one draws the line for simplicity?

“Simple” or otherwise, a well developed product fulfills a need. If it does not achieve that, it is a FAIL.

The main theorem to good engineering design is not only simplicity, but to make everything
well-defined, simple and safe.
You can combine the big three with most of design-for-x criteria, that includes all stages of the product lifecycle (especially the utilization phase), functionality, active principle and, of course :wink: , the outer appearance. Some of the design-for-x criteria won’t match the scheme: dimensioning, costs and dead-lines.
I think there is always a way to make a design simple and to give it the intended look. Getting the most out of materials and manufacturing processes without getting too excited with it (remember: simplicity :wink: ) seems to be the key to create great looks with little or no additional costs.
Example: cast iron support frames for sewing machines in the 19th century came with great looking company emblems and lots of ornament - because casting these complex structures caused no higher costs than casting simplier ones.