Is Nature the Best Desinger

Hi ,

I like to know the general sentiment amongst design researchers. How many of you’ll feel that nature is the best designer ?
In terms of scope ability and work process.


There is no question the answer is Yes. Why spend your time wondering about such a thing? Nature is inspiration to 99% of design in some way. Nature gave us the Golden Mean, the Fibonacci sequence, etc. It’s perfect and always will be. It’s process is automatic and reliant on all other groups, flowers grow because their seeds are spread by animals/insects.

Honestly, if you can create, from scratch, a plant using nothing from nature - then you are on the level of Nature as designer. But since that’s impossible, humans will NEVER be as good. Period.

“Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.”
Leonardo da Vinci

Says it all.

I think it produces some amazing forms and creatures, but it’s not always good… there are lots of problems with naturally occuring things. I’ve always heard back pain is because evolution hasn’t quite caught up to improving the ape for upright walking.

Shapes and colors come together so randomly as well, they can produce beautiful results just as often as strange ones, while all making amazing natural sense… A quick search for ugly animals came up with the aye-aye

OK nurb and Kemnet, if nature is good at design is it only the end result. What about the way it designs, do you think that the natural design process is superior ?

Travisimo, tell me why should nature bother about the over evolved ape ? Is it not the most destructive creature. Would not more design faults in this particular creature help nature - by limiting its damage.

Also these creatures are ugly only to our over evolved monkey eyes. I am sure they find each other sufficiently attractive. Should we allow our own aesthetic prejudices cloud our judgment on natures efficacy ?

Do you think other animals find us attractive ?

:slight_smile: heheh, they probably they don’t think we’re attractive at all. Maybe pets do… I only added that pic because I assumed that our aesthetics were part of your criteria for “best designer”. It seems like people often look to nature for attractive forms but it doesn’t always produce them

Its hard to say whether or not back problems are because mother nature decided humans are too destructive, but I would imagine that it’s because we’re sitting in desks more often now than before and nature hasn’t caught up yet.

Good question. I personally believe that natural design process is superior in the sense that it takes thousands if not millions of years to achieve the results we have today, and it is still continuing to evolve. There is surely a lesson or two we can learn from its long process.

And if you believe in natural selection, you can also consider our need to change, design, improve, or innovate as naturalistic steps we take in our evolution. which is definitely not designed by us but by nature :slight_smile:

I can’t find the source at the moment, but I know there is research out there that suggests certain mammals (dolphins perhaps?) do prefer the image of one person over another, suggesting that they are attracted to that person.

How is this little ape the most destructive? How can you prove it was over-evolved? What did it start as? A chimp? This may be its most close to perfect evolved state? As I said before, there is a reason for everything in nature. I would argue that the most destructive force in nature is not evolution, but weather.

travismo is right, We are living out side our specs. We should be jumping, running and climbing more trees. We were designed for such activities.

As I said before, there is a reason for everything in nature. I would argue that the most destructive force in nature is not evolution, but weather

Not sure if this is true. Nature designs without intentions. Darwin figured that one out. Natural selection picks the winners. If they look attractive to each other - (despite offending travismo’s good taste - they get to reproduce.

I thought this was interesting. Well know artist Ralph Steadman’s work compared to funky monkey

Ah, but you could argue that it’s purpose is to be defeated for the greater evolution of another species.

Local tribes in Madagascar think that the aye aye is the devil. they believe that if it looks you in the eye then you are cursed, and if one walks into a village then the whole village moves. Unfortunately this is one of the reasons as to why the aye aye is becoming extinct, that and because its natural environment is being destroyed. 4/5ths of the rainforests in Madagascar have been destroyed in the last 20 years. Personally I think that humans have more emotions over some animals which are under the threat of extinction then other animals; i.e, most people will feel bad if pandas become extinct then the aye aye because we find it aesthetically more pleasing. I find this aspect of “over evolved apes” a bit depressing and I think it says something about the vagueness of aesthetic appeal. The aye aye is one of the most evolved lemurs. Its long fingers tap on tree branches to find the oscillation which revels where a grub is, then its strong teeth break the tree branch to dig out the grub. I am a strong believer in biomimicry. My first stage of the design process is to see or try to think of how nature would solve the problem. I often begin by watching an Attenborough DVD.


Whether one believes nature spontaneously occurred or was consciously designed by an all-powerful designer, nature is the best designer. Not all things in nature fit our visual standards of beauty, but I submit that all things in nature fulfill their holistic function in a beautiful way. Like the quote in my sig, ‘there is an inherent intelligence to beauty.’ I know of no greater repository of intelligence than in nature.

evolution is the ultimate form of prototyping.

Hi Cameron,

Perhaps I see the same way. But what percentage of your colleges do you think would agree with such a perception ?

Interesting statement. But nature does not distinguish between final product and prototype ? Is it not constantly on the job working on in the product/pro-type/life ?

I think to a certain extent. Evolution deals with enormous data, some altered by random mutations while some are favoured in relation to its selection criteria, which is basically survival and sexual attractiveness. While that covers a lot of ground, like efficient use of energy etc. it is not exhaustive.

That said, this is quite a good website for resources regarding the design of nature, for designers -

If nature is the best designer, it is also the worst.
99% of all species (designs) that have existed have gone extinct.
Nature doesn’t aim, it shots at random within certain limits.
What makes life the ultimate self-perpetuating mechanism is its diversity.