The Principles of Design

Sculpture of Two-Face by Tim Bruckner
Sculpture of Two-Face by Tim Bruckner

Why are symmetrical faces considered more attractive than less symmetrical faces? What makes Macs so appealing to some consumers? Why do some homes sell fast and others take a long time to sell in the same area? Balance, Rhythm, Emphasis, Unity, Movement, Pattern, and Contrast. These design principles are everywhere. Design makes the difference.

According to the BBC (Nov 18, 2004), symmetrical balance in a face is more appealing to a potential mate than asymmetry. Comic books, cartoons and movies often portray unbalanced villains as ugly (unbalanced faces to match their character). In pursuit of beauty, plastic surgery "re-designs" the human form so that it is more symmetrical and balanced. One can argue about the right or wrong of these judgments but it seems that people have an in-born desire for balanced design which influences how they perceive others and themselves.

Macs appeal to some consumers because of how they adhere to certain design principles: balance, rhythm, and unity. Apple uses a similar design theme from their smallest machines (iPod) to their desktop machines (iMac). The Mac Pro is a bit of an aberration. Having sold electronics in another life, I know some consumers find the Mac unappealing for the same reason others are so attached to it; it doesn’t look like a typical computer. In this sense, Macs do not unify with other computers. They create a feeling of imbalance which leads some consumers to reject them as unusual.

In watching “Sell this House” on A&E, again and again Roger Hazard and Tanya Memme fix hard to sell houses by applying the Principles of Design; creating unity between rooms, balancing out elements, and emphasizing important features through contrasting colors. My old art college instructors would be proud. He applies everything that I learned in a practical way to sell a product. I am always amazed at how a dull house is transformed into a desirable product simply by applying a few basic design rules.

The Principles of Design influence choices in mates, consumer items, and houses. These choices may be unconscious but Art is Everywhere.

Author: Webmaster K