Define good design|opinions differ

A Chinese idiom truly brings along the actual message of people perspectives, “The benevolent see benevolence and the wise see wisdom”. There isn’t any clue to judge any designs. People see values differently, understand concepts peculiarly or tend to follow the trend numbly. It so depends on people’s priority. I consider myself to be part of the different thinking crowd. My standpoint may not be accurate or same as public. For me, a good design is under the consideration of innovative, narrative, accessible and understandable.

Innovative is important. It sounds superficial but this is how the world function. People are all visual animal, they tend to buy the latest cool item than a dull design product among the same function. I don’t mean that it is the main essential element but it should be one of the design factors. ‘Originality, beauty, aesthetics—these are needed, but I am much more interested in the problem design solves and more importantly the people’s whose lives are changed, even if just a little.’ —Bradford Shellhammer (LABARRE, 2015). Ignore the appearance of an idea, being functional is imperative. Don’t even mention if the design is aimed to be groundbreaking, yet counterproductive construction will only create more garbage. A constant good function design is required as the contribution for the earth’s ecology and as in the design world. Creating a design that ‘you cannot fathom how you once lived without it’ (LABARRE, 2015) is hard, that’s why design progress usually took so long. Same as Stuart Karten , an ‘Innovative design is new and different. It introduces aesthetics that haven’t been seen before’ (LABARRE, 2015), so the new idea doesn’t have to be super aesthetic or with an unimaginable new function, it is more about the use of creativity to provide a new object. Either just an improvement inspired by old concept or a completely fresh idea is valuable.

A good design should be considering, communicating and interacting with the audience. I would say a designed outcome without any meaning is like a snail removed the shell.  Although you can define the word meaning in a different way, maybe the aim on the uses. However, a story can actually lighten up a concept, it has the ability make the design lively. ‘Visuals are a great way to bring a story to life, so try to utilise them wherever possible.’ (Turner, 2015) A story-centered or narrative design will be more innovative and stand out from the others, it’s like a bonus. Moreover, designers should get the audience more involved and understand their works.  There is no way people can figure out the concept if no communication happens. ‘Knowing your audience is critical. Whether you can plan in advance, or have to adjust on the fly, you can’t tell a good story unless you can get the audience involved.’ (Quesenbery, 2014)  Therefore, having a narrative is the best way to interact with the audience.

Here are some examples of artwork presented by Kumi Yamashita and Tim Noble and Sue Webster based on playing with shadow. This is an accidental discovery that shadow is certainly a very good media to create narrative and in a unique way. ‘the art of Shadowgraphy (performing arts), this shadow art also tells a story from nothing more than silhouettes formed from the most random of objects.’ (Press, 2016) They used the light and shadow to create meaningful shadows . The concepts of the example are more likely implying that the thing to be observed may not be the real case.

shadow_02 Exclamation-Point-by-Kumi-Yamashita shadowart09 shadow_art_6


LABARRE, S. (2015). What Is Innovative Design? 7 Designers And Thinkers Weigh In. [online] Co.Design. Available at: [Accessed 3 May 2016].

Press, B. (2016) 20 Incredible Examples of Shadow Art, Available at: (Accessed: 4 May 2016).

Quesenbery, W. and Brooks, K. (2014) Storytelling for User Experience – Rosenfeld Media, Rosenfeld Media. Available at: (Accessed: 4 May 2016).

Turner, N. (2015) You’re not a great designer unless you’re also a great storyteller – UX for the masses,UX for the masses. Available at: (Accessed: 4 May 2016).

Image source:
Wasteland, E. (2016) Light and Shadows – easa012_illusion, Available at: (Accessed: 4 May 2016).


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