Understanding Different Types of Design
Almost as far back as we can date, humans have designed shelters to live in.We strategically design structures to accommodate our needs.Dating back to the first century AD, there is a writing called the De Architectura by the Roman architect, Vitruvius who categorized architecture into three principles. The first principle, durability, meaning, it should last. The second, usability, meaning it should have purpose. And the third principle, beauty, meaning it should appear delightful. Back then it was important to them to not only design for longevity and purpose but for the emotional value of beauty as well. Even today, these principles are being used. In the early 1900s the New York city became a flourishing epidemic of people.
With a limited amount of land being a problem, the only solution was to design buildings that went up. Thus the mass construction of skyscrapers which stand to this day. They’re durable as well as serve the purpose of shelter and they serve many. This is what differentiates architects from sculptors. The sculpture doesn’t have to have purpose or longevity. Take an ice sculpture for example. The sculpture can simply serve as an aesthetic piece of art and then melt away in a matter of hours. However, architects design for purpose and durability as well as use elements of design to construct structures.
Next, let’s talk about fashion designers. A functional fashion designer does the same thing as an architect. They solve problems through the process of designing clothes. Like our example I used before, with the soldier. A designer strategically took into consideration the need to have the soldier blend into his or her background better. Thus, a design for a better pattern was needed. Another example of fashion design is the clipless shoe for bicycles, designed in 1895 by Charles Hanson. This allowed the rider to become one with the bike and have a better experience when pedalling. The rider could pull with one foot while pushing with the other foot. This accounted for less work and more force, hence, a better ride. Charles saw the problem and created a solution, thus making him a great designer.
Now, the two example I just covered are functional fashion designs. There are, in fact, purely aesthetic fashion designs like costuming for example. Their purpose may be to shock the audience without any usability. This is another example of art compared to design. Next, let’s take a look at something a little more directly related to what we’re going to be studying.
Let’s talk about graphic design. This is the design of visual communication. Where we can take a message and correlate it with the elements of art to relay a message, where we can change people’s perception or thoughts on a specific topic. As a graphic designer, whenever you have turned a want into a need, you know you’ve done your job. Back in the 19th century, the popular medium was printing and sign making. Now, the medium is still printing but, more so for digital like web and mobile. This brings us to our next form of design, web and mobile design. Essentially, web and mobile design is that of graphic design. We use graphics to solve problems by visually communicating a message through content and form.
However, communicating through a device is a little bit different. There are two levels of design when dealing with web and mobile design. There is the design of the content, which you are there to see and the design of the interface. This is what we like to call user interface design. If you’re designing specifically for the user’s interactions, meaning you have the content already in hand and you are performing the task of serving that content up. This is the task of the user interface designer. You are presenting the user with the best possible solution for them to view and interact with the content. This brings us to our last example of design, systems design. Systems design is defining objects and how the interaction presents and forms data, thus a system based on requirements. Meaning this, if we had a website that sold products like, candy for example. If our requirement for that site was to sell the candy to our best ability and keep the customers happy, we would try to create the best user experience design as possible. This is the first of three sub tasks to physical design. Essentially, it’s how we present users with data and how they interact with that data.
The goal is to design and establish the best possible system for that user, leaving them with a feeling of joyful and positive emotions. This is a very different type of design as it does not deal with one specific medium. Systems design can be comprised of multiple mediums. As you can see, there are many different types of design from architecture, fashion, graphic, web design and system design. At the same time, they all do the same thing. They simply solve problems using purpose and aesthetics.