Eight principles of good design

Cimigo
Dec 04, 2023

In the world of design, there are fundamental principles that underpin the creation of truly exceptional and meaningful experiences. These principles guide designers to craft products, campaigns, and experiences that resonate with people on a profound level.

In the following article I would like to explore these eight principles of good design, each exemplified by notable examples that have left a lasting impact on the world.

Principle 1: Good Design is Emotional

Good design taps into our emotions and connects with us on a deeply personal level. Apple, under the visionary leadership of Steve Jobs, epitomizes this principle. The Apple brand is about more than just products; it’s about emotionality.

The “Think Different” campaign, launched in the logical world of computers, celebrated individuals who challenged the status quo, sparking emotions of inspiration, admiration, and aspiration. Apple products evoke an emotional connection, turning users into loyal fans who eagerly anticipate every product launch.

Apple – Think Different video here.

Principle 2: Good Design is Invisible

Design should seamlessly integrate into our lives, becoming nearly invisible. Spotify’s intuitive user interface is a prime example. The platform’s design is unobtrusive, allowing users to focus on their music. The ease of navigation and the personalized recommendations make the design virtually disappear, leaving only the music to be enjoyed.

Principle 3: Good Design Drives Action

Design has the power to motivate people to change their behavior. Volkswagen’s “The Fun Theory” campaign demonstrated this principle brilliantly. By turning a staircase into a giant piano keyboard, Volkswagen encouraged people to take the stairs instead of the escalator. This fun and engaging design transformed a mundane daily task into a playful and active choice, inspiring healthier behavior.

Volkswagen – The Fun theory video here.

Principle 4: Good Design is Empathetic

The “Free Your Smile” campaign by Colgate in the Asia-Pacific region is an excellent example of empathy towards users.

The campaign encourages everyone to showcase their unique smiles, overcoming the common “Smile Shame” barrier often encountered in Asian people. Colgate recognizes the cultural value of smiles and uses design to inspire and create a positive response in society.

Image via Colgate

Principle 5: Good Design is Intentional

The Shinkansen, Japan’s iconic bullet train, is a testament to the intentional design inspired by nature. Its sleek and aerodynamic shape mimics the kingfisher’s beak, reducing noise and increasing efficiency. This intentional design not only improved train performance but also showcased nature’s wisdom.

Image by Henry Perks via Unsplash

Principle 6: Good Design is a Relentless Pursuit

Dyson’s journey to create a successful bagless vacuum cleaner is a testament to the relentless pursuit of good design. Unhappy with the status-quo, he spent 15 years and developed 5,127 prototypes in his quest to create the world’s first bagless vacuum that wouldn’t lose suction. This dedication to innovation and perfection showcases that good design requires resilience and the willingness to learn from failures.

Principle 7: Good Design is Hopeful

Good design has the power to bring joy and happiness. Dopamine Land in London is an immersive experience designed to evoke feelings of delight. It combines art, technology, and interactivity to create a world where visitors can escape reality and experience the joy of imagination. It demonstrates how design can be a source of hope and positivity.

Principle 8: Good Design is Surprisingly Simple

Simplicity is a hallmark of good design. The Nike logo, with its swoosh, is a prime example. It’s a simple yet iconic symbol that encapsulates the essence of the brand – motion and progress. Similarly, the Google search bar’s minimalistic design has become synonymous with internet search, emphasizing that good design is often deceptively simple.

In conclusion, these eight principles of good design offer a roadmap for designers, thinkers, and innovators to create impactful, meaningful, and memorable experiences. By understanding human needs and desires, design can transform the world and leave a profound mark on those it touches.

Whether in the world of technology, marketing, or everyday products, these principles serve as a guide for creating designs that resonate with people and stand the test of time.

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