Forms, Aesthetics, and Ergonomics

Forms, Aesthetics, and Ergonomics

For the same product and target users, there are still multiple environments that need to be considered: industrial vs. home, office vs. workshop, indoors vs. outdoors are just some of the common ones we often look at. Each of these will require different forms and feelings – how do we balance these wants and needs to appeal to the widest possible audience?

How do you want your product to be used, and how does that affect the way it looks? 


One of the common misconceptions about design is about how similar it is to art, but we try to make a fundamental distinction: designers attempt to fulfill the requirements of a project. If a product is designed a certain way, it is because there is a reason for it. For instance:

  1. Colours can be picked based on the usage of a device – the same chair coloured differently can appeal more to children versus adults.
  2. The shape of a product can be designed according to how it is used – a pillow for the head versus a pillow for the neck are shaped differently to support different functions.
  3. The size of a product varies based on users – lettering on products meant for older populations may be larger to compensate for poorer eyesight.
  4. Medical devices used in surgery often prioritise functionality/usability over the way the product looks.

This module is not about making the prettiest product or the most universally appealing product. It is about understanding who the product’s audience is, and designing specifically for that audience. If the requirements are to make the world’s ugliest stuffed toys, then that’s what the design will be geared towards. They won’t be pretty but they fulfill the requirements.

In the end, the core questions of this module don’t change: what do you want your product to do? Who is it for? When and how is it used? And where?


Know your answers to these questions?


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