Thursday 2 February 2017

The Nature & Aesthetics of Design (1978)

Artefacts are fundamental to human life. Designing, making and using artefacts constitutes a complex and never ending cycle of human activities. 

Quite surprisingly, there appears to be a small set of `laws' that describe the habitual behaviours of humans who are involved in the process of designing, making and using artefacts. Some of these laws were described in an entertaining way by the designer David Pye (1914-1993) in two books: The Nature & Aesthetics of Design (1978) and The Nature and Art of Workmanship (1968).  

For example, Pye describes how humans seem to be unable to make useful things, without also expending a great deal of avoidable work (what he calls useless work) that adds nothing to the object's usefulness. Human makers habitually expend a great deal of effort to ornament, polish, smooth, decorate or otherwise embellish an object. None of which are required for the object to be useful. 

Extracted from The Nature & Aesthetics of Design, the picture above shows some of Pye's concepts around the Design/Making process.