January 28, 2010

One of the first concepts I learned about during design school was the idea of the elegant solution and that really successful design imparts a sense of delight in the end user. It is an idea I have carried with me to this day. In fact when I am working on a project, I'll often take a step back from my work and question whether I am creating something that could impart that sense of joy in someone. While I do feel that for some areas of design can more directly access the emotions of their target market, like industrial or graphics for instance, I still think the concept is relevant for interiors. Obviously some interiors can incorporate that sense of delight more readily than others, but it will always be something I strive for in my interiors.
Sometime last year, I was introduced to the essay "Since Then" by Milton Glaser from his AIGA National Design Conference appearance, where he says the following:

"If we need a definition of Art, the Roman literary critic Horace provided an elegant one. “The role of art is to inform and delight”. Form and light are hidden in that definition. It’s an idea I enthusiastically embrace. Of course, informing is different than persuading. When one is informed, one is strengthened. Persuasion does not guarantee the same result.
Delight is the non-quantifiable part of the definition that speaks to the role of beauty. What artists make is a gift to humankind; a benign instrument that has the possibility of affecting our consciousness through empathy and shared symbolism. We are affected not through logic but by a direct appeal to our limbic brain, the source of our emotional life. Although we don’t fully understand how it functions, I’m drawn to this mysterious part of our work, which we frequently describe as metaphysical or miraculous. These words may simply mean that we still do not understand what our brain is capable of."

Last week I was reminded of this essay when I attended a lecture that was presented by ACAD, and featured Sandy Chilewich of the Chilewich brand of products. She spoke a lot about her product design and the importance of the marketing and branding of her products. She spoke about her reluctance to use the words artist and designer in reference to herself and her work, and that it was something that she would likely never reconcile for herself. I was most interested in some of the discussion that came about after Sandy had finished her presentation, on the topic of art and design, artist and designer. It was the first time I had heard that discussion between both artists and designers. I guess I always considered a designer to be someone who creates with a function and user in mind, and that an artist is simply more about creative expression. Really naive now that I think about it. There is just so much grey area, and really so much creative work falls into both of these categories. And it was so great to hear so many people express that.
I didn't bring this up to ignite debate or anything, just to express that at the end of the day, it felt so good to be with like minded souls. And that I guess I felt a little less lonely in my little world.


Post a Comment