Here’s something I’ve been thinking of lately. How do the tools (or methods) we use to design affect the outcome of the final design/product?
Consider the following-
Back in the days before computers it was almost impossible to get a multi-surfaced product made. Continuous surfaces would be almost impossible to draw by pen and paper CAD methods and the only really way was to carve a clay model. As such, also given production methods, very few consumer products (maybe except for some furniture and cars) had complex surfaces. Think of any of the 60’s pop design items (mostly basic shapes like spheres and circles and such) or modernist stuff (mostly boxes with radii). even further back, things were pretty geometrical or had curves only in one direction (such as a lot of deco stuff).
Then computers started to be used. At first they were pretty rudimentary in terms of CAD capability. Think of 70’s stuff where most of the forms where very rectangular and geometric. Then 80’s where there was a lot more radii and edge treatments applied, but still pretty geometric (think original macintosh). Then in the 90’s or so, surface models started to be used and there was a huge influx of more complex overly surfaced things where every surface had a crown or some such treatment (think original imac, though the style started a lot earlier).
Nowadays, there is both complex CAD that can handle surfaces and a lot of designers use this tool. I also seem to note that sketches and marker (or SBP) seem to somehow be more “prized” and put on a pedestal, compared to earlier when they were more tools to get things done. From this, I notice two things-
A.) a lot of CAD only designs are made that have overly crazy surface treatments, because you can.
B.) a lot of designers who maybe don’t use CAD but primarily sketch (and are good at it), design everything with crowns and bulbous feet, projections on everything, because it looks cooler in a sketch than something straight. I’d almost put everything in ID mag and from any of the large studios in this category.
My biggest beef (that started this tangent of though) is that often what looks good in a sketch isn’t so hot in real life. Maybe it’s just me with my minimal and modernist tendencies, but I hate crowned surfaces and superfluous surfacing. But sketching a square rectangle (like the original ipod or anything from Dieter Rams) just looks silly unless you draw it always orthographically (or, ironically do it straight in CAD from the start).
I dunno, maybe I’m way outta whack here or just a Dieter Rams fanboy, but I’m starting to loathe all the random surfacing and such going on in design today.
So the question begs - Does reverence of sketches or using CAD (or any other tool) affect the final design aesthetic?