Scientific approach to the perfect design

But if there is only one true solution, and one true beauty - then only one answer can be “right” and all others wrong? Where does that leave individuality? There is not a “right” way to paint a landscape, just different ways. Humanity is too complex for one solution to work for every person.

I guess it would depend on what “a well defined problem” is. If the definition is “find a solution for 2+2” then you have one true solution (unless you live in Orwell’s 1984). But design problems have too much complexity to define in only one true answer. I also believe that each persons individual desires change constantly. At what point is the “true solution” valid?

aside of the functional aspect of a form, i think humans want to be around forms that reflect personal qualities that they aspire to or forms that reflect feelings that they have. some organic styled products, a lady’s shaver for example, may have a fluid, organic and curvaceous form, reflecting the act of smooth form flowing action, a sense of beauty, simplicity and grace. in comparison, linear architectural structures create a sense of simplicity and strength, as you would typically see in the design of a bank building (linear structures in architecture are typically easier and cheaper to build).

some of the most beautiful forms are created out of context and capacity. to me, that is the freedom and beauty of art. an abstract piece of sculpture does not have to have any association. to then apply this sculpture into a tool is when it develops some inevitable associations.

All of these comments are great.

In terms of architecture, why would a baby be more attracted to a linear bank building as opposed to something designed by Anton Guidi (sp)? Was the art nuveau movement really on to something with their sensual curves?

Again, we’re attaching things to the form, like the fact that it is cheaper to build a linear building. But is linear really attractive? If you were standing naked surrounded by sharp, linear objects, I think you’d be very uncomfortable. If, however, you were surrounded by objects with flowing lines and curves, you might feel a bit more welcome, as these objects mimic your own shape. Things that can do us harm are typically straight (knives.)

I’d like to know a bit more about that baby research. I remember a show on Discovery, I think called “beauty.” There was a part on there about Elizabeth Hurley and that she had a nearly symmetrical face. once we get to be 3-5 years old, I suspect our ideas on beauty are fairly well set by our culture. But what if you were raised blank. Raised with no outside influences. What would you lean towards? Our brain must be somehow set up to declare one object over another.

I think that the psychological reaction to beauty relies on too many factors to be universal to anyone. The associations that are brought to a person through life experiences create their perceptions of the world around them. Limiting someone’s perceptions and experiences won’t make their definition of beauty closer to “true beauty”.
I think that a person’s experiences, no matter how complex (or limited) defines beauty for them.
You comfort within a space is based on your knowledge of other spaces. From the minute you’re subconscious begins interacting with outside stimulus, recording comfort and discomfort, you are making opinions.

Concentrating on the beauty of a form does no justice to other factors.

In the early years, there was a premium to pay for an Apple Mac vs. the clone PCs. It was definitely more attractive, with it’s little face as immortalized by Berke Breathed. But more than that, it didn’t crash as often…it worked very well. Since that time, the reliability of the PC has improved to the point where there is little difference in operation. One can even use different skins to simulate Mac on a PC. Even the “beauty” differnce has been reduced with some of the designs and form factors. For many people, the price difference is no longer justified.

The previous choice between Porsche and Volkswagen is now closer to a choice between Cayenne and Touareg.

Decoration has it’s place, but it cannot stand higher than function. The two must be relatively equal. A lack in either diminishes the value of a design.

To use the exhausted iPod example: If the iPod do what it promised, it would be an… mRobe.


…the i-pod has been reconfigured about 7 times since it was introduced 5 yrs ago, but you would be hard pressed to find a more successful product or one which is more widely acclaimed both functionally and aesthetically.

but you would be hard pressed to find a more successful product or one which is more widely acclaimed both functionally and aesthetically.

I dunno… the wheel is a great example. Wooden, steel, with spokes or an new hubless design, the wheel is probably the best example of aesthetics and function wrapped into one.

Could be why the iPod uses a wheel in its interface

is it not obvious that if we put functionally and aesthetically together then we will have perfect design?

i know very little about cars but if i JUST look at a ferrari and a porsche i perfer the porsche because of it’s rounded off edges and because it looks more compact. but if someone was to explain to me that ferrari’s engine is better than a porsche’s engine then i may decide that ferrari is better even design-wise.

i think aesthetic has to adapt to fuction and vice versa but sometimes for perfection maybe function is more important and i guess this is also why art is different to design.

it’s possible to put aesthetics into several levels:

  • simple/plain

  • harmonic

  • chaotic functional

  • chaotic harmonic

  • chaotic balanced

  • chaotic expressive

  • compositional harmonic

  • compositional balanced

  • compositional chaotic

  • lenient/temperate

this is the scientific way the notes are arranged in microtonal music classified mathematically by pythagoras and later expanded, experimented with, and explained by alfarabi in his book musiqi-ye kabir (great book of music).

after pythagoras greeks adopted another system which still exists today but farabi believed the original pythagorian music was the only sensory and scientific way to explain order and chaos in any known scientific system including math, astronomy, and obviously logic which was the principal tool for philosophy.

it’s possible aristotle and pythagoras in ancient greece had reached the same conclusion previously since in the world of philosophy aristotle is regarded as the first teacher of philosophy and farabi the second teacher although they did not exactly show how it worked because they also put a lot of emphasis on the individual elements as being non-sensory by themselves like the way for instance alphabet works in poetry, the difference being that music is in fact sound while poetry in essence is language.

sound could be physically measured while language lacking that quality.

ironically language was used for philosophy and music for language. to go beneath the skin on music for farabi was an important issue since it broke the language barrier challenging the scientists to distinguish between math and logic when they believed math was inseperable from logic.

also it was a difficult task to convince philosophers of their time that music was something beyond language, sound or feeling, rather a scientific tool to do things numbers by themselves can’t provide. a seperate platform to test numbers on what they can do in nature or even outside nature. farabi didn’t succeed to prove his theories because the science of that time was way too primitive to do experimentations but managed to put them down in detail explaining what pytrhagoras and those before him had done and what he thought was a more complete version of that system for future observers and scientists.

after farabi there were a few other theorists with books which mostly have refined, updated, or argued for or against some details but they couldn’t deny the major work farabi had done. they also lacked the advanced tools.

but right now math has advanced forward into things like number theory, graphs,and all sorts of discrete formulations.

now we can understand how math and logic can be two different things.

aesthetics too could be something that might be either based on logic or math or a seperate scientific or non scientific system of thought. the importance is that it’s based on something otherwise how could a future observer from another advanced time truly digitize it in a non-sensory form?

Oops. I meant, “If the iPod didn’t do what it promised…”