Form ALWAYS Follows Function?

I can’t remember the source, but many years ago one of our more visible and experienced colleagues gave his take on the dictum. “Form follows function…chronologically.” First make sure it works, then address aesthetics, emotion, differentiation etc.

In support of giggle’s point, why don’t all products that function equally well look exactly the same? Because at that point everything becomes a commodity, and that’s neither a very good way to be profitable nor satisfy the consumer’s desires. Needs maybe, but not wants, and we all know how rational we are as consumers. If giggle’s boss (and his bosses) only wants to sell to purists, the idea may hold a little more water, but not much. Do all good designers agree on which form best expresses or compliments the function? Hardly.

I personally think modernism is so confused, drawing from so many different sources we are long-overdue a new movement in design.

this is what we as designers need to address. look how long the bau-haus has had in terms of influence, why should it persevere into the 21st century, in an age of wireless fun. we are being tied down.

wireless fun, crap upon crap upon steaming crap headed for the land fill in 12 months or less. Phones that do everything but are unusable, music systems that isolate, media that is generaly forgetable, all in all a digital romper room to keep the kiddies buying and buying MORE CRAP.

all software is with out “form”…

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is 100% right…except where it comes to lace underware on a supurb looking woman.

True of the code, not of the interface.

Interesting reading the viewpoints here - thanks to all!

most of the interfaces are formless boxes, nobody gives a big whack about how the frame around the screen looks as long as the software WORKS.

Put the iPhone guts into a blank box and it is not half as cool. The form is restrained and refined, but not formless. It has to work and be cool. Form and Function.

I was talking about the GUI, not physical hardware.

Imagine the iPhone with a Windows 95 GUI, it would be a dismal failure even though the program architecture might be solid gold.

I don’t think iphone is cool because of its shape. but because it’s apple. Form has nothing to do in it.

I think that if form doesn’t express the function then the product is quickly old fashion.

put it in a cardboard box, and its still cool…the case is meaningless.

woah… the case is far from meaningless…

The combination of glossy-black and chrome has meaning.
The proportion of demension has meaning, as well as it’s curvature.

put that case on a vista device and you got huge crapola

Im not going to disagree with you there. But thats because vista is completely inapropriate for the application. - what i disagree with is you saying stuff like “the case is meaningless” -

I think maybe what you’re trying to say is that, in this product, the physical charictaristics are secondary to the experience that is the software. - the whole atoms to bytes thing - am i off here?

theres still something meaningfull left in the case though - maybe not quite as much as when there were buttons to be placed in specific locations, but it’s still there -

Re read my quote. Form and Function. Has to be both.

I disagree entirely. Apple has become a trusted editor of cool technology in the marketplace because of its Design (ID/Interaction/Software/Packaging/Graphics everything) Don’t discount it as brand, they built that brand consciously and with effort. They are an 8% marketshare company with 80% mindshare… form has everything to do with it. Their whole approach is Form on an abstract level.

Put a Microsoft Zune-like case around an iPhone device for similar results.

in that applicaion the case is just a set of earrings on a beautiful woman, still a beauty with diamonds or hubcaps.

The iphone probably is not know for its form, why because its so simple…its one of the most primitive forms …just a rectange with rounded corners…i totally disagree…how many companies have been bloating about experience design, nike, frog, every IDSA conference i have been to this year has been about just the experience, i agree with some of the people in here who say its about both form and function which is what creates the entire experience…you cannot have one standalone standout function…

And first of all …Less is more…

cheers