Appreciating good aesthetic is in human nature. In industrial design, the same can be said. Even if two object fulfills the same purpose, we are bound to prefer the better-looking object. The industrial design discipline is a practical discipline and functionality reigns supreme, but good aesthetics is vital too. Durability, ease of use, cost and safety may be a good selling point for a well-designed object, but the aesthetic quality of the object contributes to the user experience heavily, which is the main objective for design. The aesthetics of an object are instantaneous sensations one experiences while looking at an object, hence forming the first impression. The first impression does matter since overcoming the introductory aesthetic revulsion becomes a hefty challenge. It differs from cognitive responses since our response to it is rapid and involuntary (Ulrich, 2006).
The emergence of design movements or design schools can sometimes bring rapid change in industrial design aesthetic standards. Before the Bauhaus was formed in Germany in 1919, the functional minimalistic design language was not as influential as we see today. The Memphis movement, formed in 1981 by Ettore Sottsass introduced the playful, colourful style products which became the norm for product design aesthetic of the period. The movement even inspired the Fall/Winter 2011–2012 Christian Dior haute couture collection fashion show (Blanks, 2017). A theory on aesthetics which can clarify the charm of both these movements would likely associate culture with aesthetics.
Aesthetics go beyond visuals. It is quite evident in fashion. It works as things of symbolical value in social systems. Our aspiration to be of a certain social stature can drive our aesthetic value. Our self-image becomes a big part of our fashion choices. For a person who loves adventures and outdoor activities, most probably his value would lie towards outerwear adventure brands like North Face or Carhartt. For someone who feels like they belong to certain music movements, which basically can be a representation of their social self may like to wear clothes which belong to the music movement.
Written by: Jessy Hereikrujam, DMC 2019.
Blanks, T. (2017). Christian Dior Fall 2011 Couture Fashion Show. [online] Vogue. Available at: http://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/fall-2011-couture/christian-dior [Accessed 15 May 2017].
Ulrich, K. (2006). Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society. 1st ed.