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10 PRINCIPLES OF GOOD DESIGN


Good design is transformational. Subtle design mistakes in everyday objects, can at times render objects dysfunctional. So then, what is good design? Let’s discover.


1. Innovation
  • Good design is innovative, not derivative.

  • Would designing better printing machines ever lead to Braille?

2. Utility
  • Good design makes a product useful beyond just the function.

  • Macbooks make people feel creative, BMWs wealthy and Armani suit, more presentable.

3. Self Explanation
  • Good Design needs no explanation.

  • Complex products like gadgets, phones - if self-explanatory indicate good design . Example – Apple’s 'slide to unlock' feature.

4. Aesthetics
  • Design for design’s sake is not required, unless in fashion.

  • Pure designs without any 'fat' are attractive. A simple pair of scissors. Yes, that.

5. Unobtrusiveness
  • A good design should not just be clutter free, but also allow the tools to be used with ease.

  • An example of bad design is modern day swiss knife.

6. Honesty
  • A good, honest design, delivers what its promises.

  • A jute rope for instance provides, the tensile strength. Just that. No false commitments like a fake Rolex.

7. Longevity
  • Good design lives long. It’s simple and evergreen.

  • A basic pen, continues to function on the same fundamental design.

8. Detail
  • Devil is in detail, so is design.

  • Imagine a great trolley suitcase, with a theft-proof lock that needs you to remember a 7-digit code. The detail was in a short, easy to remember & difficult to crack code, not in a long one.

9. Responsible
  • Good design minimizes resource use all through the supply chain.

  • Short sighted plastic drinking straws are an example of bad design.

10. Less is More
  • Excessive design is distasteful. Design is subtle.

  • Even extravagant, traditional, heavy, Indian jewellery sells subtle designs more than overly ornamented jewellery.


The truth? There’s a designer in all of us. We all solve problems, day in and out. And if we do it with awareness, it’s easy to see how these principles apply on every design.
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