You’re most likely sitting on a chair while reading this. If you have a laptop, then the laptop most likely sits in your lap. If you’re on your stomach in front of a desktop machine then you’re just plain stupid. Did you ever stop to wonder why your chair is like that? Why the shapes of your laptop are formed like that? Or why you have have aching shoulders or other tense muscles in the upper body? The muscle tension is most likely because of your bad composure, so straighten your sitting up, or stop laying down in from of your desktop.
Let me speak about myself for a second here. When I design anything, may it be a chair, a table or a space craft, I follow few simple guidelines that I’ve set to myself.
Number 1#: Form follows means.
The form of the item must follow the intended use of the item rather than the other way around. Nobody wants to buy a knife that has a handle that prevents the use of its cutting edge. A chair must be comfortable to sit in, and it must be ergonomic.
Number 2# Use determines shapes
Tied closely to the first, but this basically means that no excessive lines are necessary unless they serve utilitarian purpose. The most beautiful items have the most useful artistic strokes in their lines.
Number 3# The item must fill the needs of the customer
No matter what kind of item I design it must fill the needs of the customer, or otherwise I’ve spend everybody’s time and money. Customer always knows what he wants, even if I have to dig that knowledge out of him
I’ve found myself wondering why things are shaped like they are more recently. Call it they of the “pro” or whatever, but I’ve found myself noticing more and more lines and curves that serve no purpose on benches and chairs. Rather, these lines actually hinder their use and ultimately cause more grief than anything. Perhaps it is the artists’ stigmata that follows the designers. Artists tend to create images and items that they want to make. This is an error that nobody in creative field should ever fall, unless such thing is called from them. Customer is more important than artist’s own imagination, and it always will be. Cater those who will purchase your goods, and you will be a rich person. Windows Operating System is such a great product all around, as it serves almost all purposes people want from a computer. Nintendo DS is a great product, as it caters almost everything people wanted from a handheld gaming device. One Piece is a great comic book series, as it caters good balance with drama and comedy with easy-to-follow art, and exceptionally well written plot and characters. I could go on for a long time with this.
Stupid people start making what they want. Even stupider people start to sell these products to customers. The most stupid is the customer who buys the product that he has no use for.
In the past I had a small strife to be called a legit artist. Nowadays I want to put a gap between me and the artist me. If you’re a good artist you serve people. If you’re an artist people think, then you might just punch yourself in the face. Everybody working in the art field, be it movies, paintings, clothes fashion or games, forget that your creativity means nothing and is completely worthless if the customer won’t buy your product. “But Mister Aalto, painters in the past sold their paintings and were successful! They are the model of modern day artists!” Ah, you’re mislead by the romantic image of an artist. Even the painters and writers of the days gone by did mostly paintings and plays due to people ordering them. Sistine Chapel wasn’t painted because Michelangelo just felt to paint it one day. He was asked to, and he did it because it was his job. Other painters, especially in the beginning of the 1900’s, usually got their paintings out there in different showcases. Customers then decided whether or not to buy their paintings. Most didn’t sell, because there was no demand for them, but those who did succeeded in in some extent, and ultimately became artists from who customers order works from. Even books that have a demand from the customers’ side succeed. A trophy epoch is an empty epoch. Nobody wants to read a book that a writer wants to write for himself. There’s always a demand, and customers are willing to pay for books that have a demand. Even if the demand comes from flock of fourteen year old girls who think sparkling vampires are cool.
I’m a servant. I create products to fulfil your needs.
Ask yourself this; why are you purchasing products that somebody created because they wanted to create it for themselves, and it does not fulfil your needs?