‘Unity in Diversity’ among Design Principles

By S. Saleem Ahmed.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Is beauty only in the eye of the be-holder or is there anything beyond it? One may wonder what makes a product beautiful and what does not. Is there a structure of beauty in product design? Can there be a universal template (read structure) that will assist in designing products that are pleasing to our senses? This paper is an attempt to unravel some of these mysteries.
As a first step, all the design elements and principles as proposed by different authors have been taken up and analyzed for their roles in the product design. The works of 14 different authors who have contributed majorly during the last 100 years in the area of Design Aesthetics or Art Education or Design Philosophy have been studied. A comparative study of the design elements and design principles proposed by them has been made. Though most of the 14 authors differ in their proposal of design elements and principles, interestingly they all could provide some tangible solution (visual order) to the design problems in their approaches.
The reasons for the diversity in the design principles have been explored and the basic design principles have been identified in this paper. It concludes with a discussion on whether ‘unity’ is the final attainment in product design.

Keywords: Design Principles, Proportion, Rhythm, Balance, Emphasis, Variety, Unity

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp.385-394. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 843.899KB).

S. Saleem Ahmed

Research Scholar and Guest Faculty, Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Bangalore, India

He is research scholar in the field of “Product Aesthetics and Semiotics” in Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He had received his Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) degree from Regional Engineering College (now National Institute of Technology), Tiruchirapalli, India in 1984. He worked as Design and Development Engineer in Mitsubishi Tractor project of VTTL and later in Ingersoll-Rand, Bangalore. In 1989, he joined Industrial Design Centre at IIT-Bombay for his master’s degree (M.Des.) in Industrial Design. There, as a student he had won an award for designing a telephone from Sony Corporation, Japan. He has been successfully involved in designing and developing several consumer products for international markets for about 15 years. He has visited 21 different countries (in Europe, Asia, and America) and studied on how industrial designers work and the consumer market. Since 2002, he has been working as a Guest Faculty in CPDM. He has been teaching courses on Elements of Design and Product Design. From 2006, he has also been pursuing a Ph.D. degree under the supervision of Prof.B.Gurumoorthy.

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