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Aesthetics as a Complement, Not a Replacement.

I think there were striking resemblances between the industrial design film and the poster design project. I think that one of the largest resemblances is that both industrial design and the design work we did on our poster need to focus first on functionality of the piece and then next on the aesthetics of the piece. In industrial design that could mean designing a faucet handle that first and foremost achieves the job of turning on the water quickly and efficiently and then secondly has a look that is appeasing to the user and goes beyond just the function of turning on water. Similarly, with the poster, the goal of bringing people to a festival must first convey the informational aspect needed to find the location of the festival and know the time and date of it, then secondly it must attract the user in, be aesthetically appealing, and elicit an emotional response in the audience that would make them want to attend the event. In essence, this is what the title is all about as well, “To Inform and Delight.”

If these were approached in the other way, to first delight and then to inform, one risks the possibility of the audience being attracted to the piece but then having no functional use out of the piece beyond the enjoyment it has created in the user. In terms of poster design that could mean being attracting to a poster due to the cool drawing, and appealing colors conveyed in the work but not reading the information on how to attend the event which was hidden in the corner of the piece, due to the fact that the designer was focused only on aesthetic pleasure and not the informational intent of the piece. Likewise, with industrial design, if one approaches the faucet first from a design perspective and taking the functionality second to that, one might end up with a cool looking faucet handle that remains nearly impossible to turn on and off, what is arguably the true purpose of a faucet handle. This is also applicable to our website design in that we must make the website look appealing to the eye but remember that the most important part is that the user can navigate through the website, engage with your content, and ensure the goals of converting the user are achieved. Therefore, the aesthetics of design should complement the functionality of design but not overpower it or be used in place of it.

John Garret Bleir

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