The use of Formal Aesthetic Principles as a Tool for Design Conceptualisation and Detailing

DS 81: Proceedings of NordDesign 2014, Espoo, Finland 27-29th August 2014

Year: 2014
Editor: Miko Laakso, Kalevi Ekman
Author: Ali, Abu; Liem, Andre
Series: NordDESIGN
Institution: Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
Section: Design theory and practices
Page(s): 490-499
ISBN: 978-1-904670-58-2


The practice and teaching of form-giving typically takes the starting point in enhancing the intuitive and explorative approach of form giving rather than employing available structured methods for generating form. In this paper, formal aesthetic principles are evaluated based on their potential to be applied in a generative manner. Literature studies have revealed 6 design principles, which are relevant for form development in a selection of design fields. These design principles were classified according to their connectivity with mathematical and nonmathematical theories. Although the Fibonacci sequence, Golden Ratio and Gestalt theories are most relevant for analysing and developing a balanced form, there is no evidence that these design principles were used as a guideline for designing new products or that they have been mostly applied for retrospectively analysing existing 2-D and 3-D products forms. With the potential of proactively using design principles for form studies in the conceptualization and refinement stages of the design process, design practitioners could utilise design principle templates to experiment with and determine balanced proportions as part of the design conceptualization work, prior to making design decisions mainly based on technical functionality, manufacturability and usability. This presupposes that these design principles can be used as a tool for analysing, generating and organizing new forms, which fit the working practice of the designer. However there is a risk that an overemphasis and overreliance on geometric principles may restrict serendipitous creativity in form giving.

Keywords: Formal aesthetic principles, form giving, geometry, gestalt


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