Creativity and Aesthetics

Design artefacts that are creative are often characterized as novel and useful, but there is less discussion of the aesthetic qualities of creative designs.

The topic arose because I presented Deiter Rams’ 10 principles of good design to students on the MICL. Rams was chief of design at Braun, the German consumer products company, from the 1960s to 1995. Rams designed a startlingly diverse range of products, from razors to hi-fi and shelving systems. His work was based on 10 principles of good design available at URL.

The third principle is that good design is aesthetic.

Student discussion about this principle was heated. Most had a view. Of course good design is aesthetic. But how, and why? Rams argued that the aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products used every day have an effect on people and their well-being. Effects such as how users feel or behave. Think about the pleasure you get from using your favourite designed products.

So design artefacts that are creative also need good aesthetic.

The question is when to design for aesthetic? Is it possible to design for it and novelty at the same time? I suspect not – the answer is to explore how to move from design for novelty to aesthetic. More on this to follow.

The Citroen DS