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Why I’m Reading About Design

Why I'm Reading About Design

In my last post I mentioned that I was reading books on design which is something a little different, at least from this blog. So I thought I would write a quick post on why I’m reading about design.

There are a lot of things that interest me but two areas that appears to catch my eye the most frequent or stands out above everything else are the mathematical/logical problem solving, especially with software, and the creation beautiful things, mostly drawing and painting. Most people can see the immediate value of software because we are living in a world being changed by technology, but most would be hard pressed to ascribe any value to art or design.

To me, the value of art and design is in the creation of beautiful products or compelling images. I think back to the first appearance of the iPhone that put design on the map. The iPhone was not only a functional beauty in that it was such a joy to use but it was also a visual beauty. It appeared to me that people really lusted after the phone because the combination of its sleek beauty along with its simple and intuitive use was so 

compelling. There was nothing like it at the time. If the iPhone had been made to look like the other clunky cellphones, I doubt it would have caught on fire the way it did. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I think it has changed the world.

It seems that after the introduction of the iPhone, design as a business topic became a serious topic. I began to see more articles and books on the topic of design. Even Tom Peters said something about the importance of learning about design (although I can’t find the exact quote).

Think about clothes. All clothes are alike but there are some that are made so beautifully that those who can afford them will pay more for the exclusive purchase of such beautiful clothes. Same thing with expensive cars with their sleek lines evoking va-va vroom power. The beauty of the product, or service, is what catapults it into the I-gotta-have category.

And that’s why I like to read about design. I love looking at beautiful pictures and I want to be able to do the same. Attaining that level of beauty is rather hard though. To get there you have to spend time on creating, experimenting and failing. I suspect that such creation can be an inefficient process. And in today’s business world, it’s all about efficiency and bottom line. The businessman has forgotten about the beauty that ultimately drives behavior.

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