Tag Archives: simplicity

What is aesthetics? and why is it important in design?

A textbook I have on design “Exploring the elements of design” simply doesn’t have an explanation for what the word aesthetic means, which I found really weird? So here’s my best hypothesis.

I believe aesthetics refers to the beauty of visual, pleasing, simplicity, in design or artwork.

In the book “The nature and aesthetics of design” Pye says “There are two questions that concern every designer. First: if some things are of ‘good’ appearance while others are not, why are ‘good’ ones good and the ‘bad’ ones bad? What causes the difference?

Second supposing they are good, who is the better for it? Does it really matter? If so why? These are questions of aesthetics.” Pye (1982).

Yes it seems that aesthetics really do matter, and that if you do have the right aesthetics, it can help in ways you probably hadn’t considered.

when we feel good, we overlook design faults. Use a pleasing design, one

that looks good and feels — well — sexy, and the behavior seems to go along

more  smoothly, more easily and better. Attractive things work better.”

(Norman, 2002, p. 41).

In the book “Design basics” it describes aesthetics with a little more difficulty. It says that aesthetics doesn’t contribute to the content, form or function. The next comment is describing an American bank-note with artwork and large white space. “Take, for example adornment subject matter can be absent and the only, ”problem” is one of creating visual pleasure.  Lauer & Pentak (2012).

So less is more and simplicity is important.
 In the book “Contemporary Advertising” they say “Any elements which can be eliminated without damaging the overall effect should be cut. Too many type styles; type that is too small; too many reverses, illustrations, or boxed items; and unnecessary copy make for an overly complex layout and an ad that is hard to read.” Arens, Schafer & Weigold (2012).

This weeks reading discusses the idea that aesthetically pleasing designs are believed to be simpler and easier to use despite the fact that this may not be true.

This premise of “pleasing designs” relates to human attractiveness and that’s why first impressions count. Your appearance forms the basis of the way people form their attitudes, perceive you and how you may be treated.

Lucky I am always immaculately presented!

In the journal “Good looking people are not what we think” it explains, You maybe treated this way as studies have been conducted which made “trait attributions to attractive and unattractive students from photographs. Socially desirable characteristics were more often ascribed to attractive students than to unattractive students, implying a “beautiful-is-good” halo effect of attractiveness. The existence of this stereotype equating beauty with personal worth suggests that physically attractive people may develop desirable qualities in response to others’ expectations.” Dion, Berscheid, & Walster (1972).

images

So positively pleasing aesthetic designs are believed to create positive attitudes and minimize perceptions of problems.  Great aesthetics can create feelings like affection, loyalty, and patience.

In the journal article “Judging books by their covers” Kwan claims that “Conversely, there is also ample evidence that individuals who do not conform to conventional beauty ideals experience stigma, negative treatment, and discrimination. not shave their legs and underarms are deemed unattractive as well as less intelligent, happy, and sociable than women who do remove body hair”. Kwan, S., & Trautner, M. N. (2011).

I believe there is much to take from this week’s reading.

If your plan is to produce content that involves any level of design.

  1. Take the time to consider what your first impression is.
  2. Keep it simple. It may be more likely to be used if it is or give the impression that it is easier.
  3. Respect the design principles and create aesthetically pleasing beautiful work.
  4. Hope to produce something which creates affection, loyalty and patience by its beauty, simplicity and ease of use. 

References

Books

Evans, P., & Thomas, M. (2008). Exploring the elements of design (2nd ed.). Cincinnati: Thomson Delmar Learning.

Pye, D. (2000). The nature & aesthetics of design. Chelsea, MI, USA: Cambium Press.

Lauer, D. A. (2008). Design basics. Boston MA Thompson Wadsworth.

Arens, W., Weigold, M., & Arens, C. (2012). Contemporary advertising (11 ed.): McGraw Hill.

Journals

Kwan, S., & Tratner, M. N. (2012). Teaching about physical attractiveness biases. Teaching Sociology, 39. doi: 10.1177/0092055X10390655

Fiengold, A. (1992). Good-looking people are not what we think. Psychological Bulletin, 111(2), 304-341. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.111.2.304

Norman,D. (2002). Emotion & Design: Attractive things work better. Interactions, 9(4), 36-42.

Images

Allergan picture. (2012). Retreived May 10th, 2012, from http://www.allergan.com.au/281.mtid

Beautiful spa picture. . (2012). Retreived May 10th, 2012, from http://www.vanityfair.com/online/beauty/spas

Mirror picture. (2012). Retreived May 10th, 2012, from http://www.decofeelings.com/pacha-design/

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