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Good quote about design and the relationship between art and engineering April 28, 2011

Posted by Jon Pittman in Design Thinking.
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“Design is first and foremost an intellectual process. Contrary to popular belief, designers are not artists. They employ artistic methods to visualize thinking and process, but, unlike artists, they work to solve a client’s problem, not present their own view of the world. If a design project, however, is to be considered successful (and that would be the true measure of quality) it will not only solve the problem at hand, but also add an aesthetic dimension beyond the pragmatic issues. I consider design not to be a series of “creative” one-offs, but an integrated process, from planning the appropriate communications strategy to designing functional and beautiful objects as well as ( for example ) implementing electronic stationery on clients’ systems. What clients say and what designers hear are too often very different things. Design is a powerful tool to help clarify the problem. It is only when a common understanding has been established between client and designer that effective results can be achieved. Design quality needs an integrated approach: look more closely than expected, ask many questions, think laterally, get involved in things you shouldn’t, do more than you are supposed to and have fun doing it. Problem solving is one thing, aesthetic pleasure another. Combine the two, make the engineer sketch like an artist and make the artist analyze like an engineer, and you are half-way there.

– German designer and typographer Erik Spiekermann.

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