Timeless design?

nothing inadvertant about it, a beautiful woman is the only timeless design everything else is transitory.

When I think of timeless design, ancient ceramics comes to mind. In today’s design nothing really seem to last, unless it’s well maintained.

this question has been asked before in a forum and I think in terms of having anything timeless is none. But to say that there is no timeless design seems harsh and hard hearted. I would have thought anythig that has a soul and a heart put into desigining something is timeless in itself. but technically speaking I can see there is no timeless design ---- not even my suggestion of the egg fits in as a timeless design.

I suppose there is timeless love but no timeless design.

Makes me wonder what products are too…

what about discarded products and garbage.

we have things we make, get used and then thrown away; yet they still survive in lanfills.

I have heard that garbage sites are an essential find for archaeologists to understand a discovered site.

I posted this response to a similar question on another forum:

I’ll be the anti-designer here. Maybe there are no timeless designs. I can remember talking to architecture students a few years ago who hated FLW’s work. I remember going to design school and thinking that all of those beige boxy designs of the '80s were hideous. Now, paint alot of them white, and you would have a iPod-like, trendy design. Meanwhile, the translucent and post-modern looking designs of the '90’s couldn’t look more out dated and ugly (to me anyways). To be honest, already I’m very tired of 2:1 rectangular boxes with circles on the front of them, whether in white or pink. I’ve been digging art nouveau again. I just love popping out of the Montréal Métro at station Square-Victoria…it features an old Paris Métro entrance by Guimard, kinda like this one:

On the other hand, some designs seem to last longer than others. People have mentioned the VW beetle and Porsche 911 (ironically, designed by grand-father, Ferdinand and grand-son, Butzi). Maybe one reason for this is the long production runs of 50+ years for the Beetle and 30 years for the original 911. Both designs ignored most of the trends occurring around them. Both designs always have stood out from the market place. Maybe the reason they seem timeless is only because how long we’ve seen them, and not anything inherent in the design.

Finally, I’ll always remember what my favorite professor told me when we had a project to redesign an ugly old product. He pointed to the garrish yellow and beige '70’s home appliance and said, “At some point in time, someone thought that was a hot design”.


It seems like we are etching out a trend here.

Is it perhaps not in the form and more in the story of the item.

Dare I say the function; how the function informs the form.

The question is little vague. Do you mean design that can be done over and over, in terms of appearance? Or something functional. To dig a hole in the sand there is no substitute to a shovel.

You know what is a timeless design?

Nail clippers.

They’re simple, they work, and they haven’t changed since the invention of the wheel.[/img]

the last few responses are beginning to get it right describing ‘timeless design’.

It is hard to imagine a corporate or branded item of timeless design. But utilatarian items of profound function do describe timelessness through that function.

The pencil.

I think it brings up some questions:

Can you design something to be timeless?

The paper clip
Eames fiberglass chairs
The Chuck Taylor Allstar (produces continually since the 1920’s with very few changes)
The Webber charcoal grill

Were these designs intended to be timeless? Or did they solve problems so simply that consumers continually adopt them, generation to generation?

Do corporations want us to create timeless designs? Or would they rather us engineer obsolesce… like the iPod, perhaps timeless looking (time will tell) but every 4 months it gets more features in part perhaps to keep the sales coming… or is that the modern turnover rate?

In the rush to bring things to market have we stopped fully solving the problems at hand in exchange for incremental advances that get people to buy more? Or are we putting in the time to find what people will really love (nintendo Wii)?

Our proffession and moden industrial econ’s in general are built on turnover, this keys into the emotional reaction to BUYING something. The buying is far different than sastifaction (long term) so the turn over contiunes. I drive a 25 year old car and a 18 year old car, both very very nice and I am sastified with both (to replace either with new of equal type would set me back over 100k). We in this field should understand that lots of what people buy, is just for the Jazz they get from the purchase, not the item.

Is it perhaps not in the form and more in the story of the item.

valxcurry: I haven’t heard it put like that before. Interesting. If timelessness is created through experience, it pretty much means anything can become timeless and there is almost nothing we can do to ensure the timelessness of any given design.

Both inspiring and depressing…

Somewhat timeless things.

a true classic, timeless.

<<<< EDITED BY ADMINISTRATOR >>>> You should no better than that, please be professional.

This true classic, may not be timeless. Check her out in 10 years.

:laughing: true, but in 10 years her image will still be a timeless classic.

If Timeless Design is seen as design that weathers fashion cycles and stays in peoples memory. Then, it is important to differentiate who sees these designs as timeless.

We may consider here, the perspectives of :

  1. Academics
  2. Design Professionals
  3. Design Press
  4. General Public ( which is different in different parts of the world)

I personally prefer the combination of 1 & 4. Design has no value if it does not touch peoples lives and win their affection. The definition of timeless design , should not be determined by publicists with vested interest and those self publicist - who festoon magazine covers, as designers.

I think, that timeless designs are designs that we do not notice at all. designs that we take for granted, like the paper clip that has become part and parcel of life. I would also include revolutionary designer/company led designs that create mass hysteria (helped by the media) - like the ipod, as they do win the affection of the public. Very few designs are in this category.

From a Darwinian perspective, if a design spawns imitations ( re-production of the design by legal or illegal means) then it should be considered a sign of the success of the design. The PC is a great example of this. The problem in this definition is that, the design becomes a generic design (core design concept) and not this or that model (a representation of the concept). Such designs may often arise out of group efforts and sometimes from those unknown.

The biological analogy to me is the closeted and the most valid way of selecting timeless designs. In nature, successfully designs survive and reproduce. We are a product of such a design process.

thank you sk.

That was a very concise essay on timeless design.

I fail to understand why you spiked that photo, it was far less reveling than many euro print and tv adds, and given that this is a design fourm it is assumed that most here have some what of a art background.

i missed the image, but i assume it was a picture of an attractive woman?
The issue then might be female objectification. Objectification of female body and equating it to a toaster or a shoe or nailclippers is generally frowned upon in most western societies. The image in itself is not offensive, the message you attached to it is.