IMD IPD mind meld

Friday, November 03, 2006

Form Follow Function, Function Follows Form, FUNCTION AND FORM ARE INDEPENDANT

Well I understand the theory of why form follows the function. For example in terms of an engine it looks as it does because of the materials it has been made from and because of it’s job that it has to do.

I also understand why the function follows the form. For example the humble screwdriver can be simplified to a simple form but it looks as it does for purely aesthetic form first and then function secondly as it is sort of standard. But I was arguing (previous Friday) the fact that the aesthetic of a product can be the function of the product. In simpler terms it’s the product’s job to look good, bad, or simply how it does look. The example given by Gus was house lighting. Every house light does the job but the fact that it looks like the way it does is so that it differentiates to every other product on the market. Therefore is it form follows function? No definitely not. Is it function follows form? I don’t think because the form (how it looks) does not affect the function of the product in anyway. I think that the aesthetic of a product IS the function of the product.

Later discussion of a previous week has revealed a new problem. With my recent blog about the environment one of my group members asked...where would recyclable items fit in? A Good example of a recycled product is the chair which is half a bathtub. We agreed that it fits into both statements. The form follows function as the function was intended to be a chair and hence it was created. Or the other statement that the function follows form where the form of the bathtub created a new use as a chair.

As the main point of having these statements are so that every product is designed in one way or the other I think a new statement should be added. The statement being "Function and form are independant". This would introduce new products such as the recyclable ones and maybe incourage more people to re-use more products and not waste them by sending them into trash where they are burried in mass landfills. That is our resources being buried once again like all the material was in the first place. A time may come that we will have to dig into these areas to use the resources left.

Note: The recyclable product mention is a reused product. Not the type where the material is cut into peices (mosaic) or materail meted and reused. The products made as a result from these sort of processes can be put into the standard two statements of function and form.

Do you agree…disagree? Tell me what you think, comments appreciated. IMRAN LOBANIA


Blogger Jonathan said...

"For example the humble screwdriver can be simplified to a simple form but it looks as it does for purely aesthetic form first and then function secondly as it is sort of standard. "

Not sure I'd agree with you here - you really think it's that way round?

2:21 PM  
Blogger blessed not stressed said...

still thinking over the whole thing. must admit i haven't really come up with a brilliant conclusion yet, lol. i did find a site with quotes of different views on the subject... c what you think :)

Form follows function-that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union. - Frank Lloyd Wright

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill

When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong. - R. Buckminster Fuller

We are searching for some kind of harmony between two intangibles: a form which we have not yet designed and a context which we cannot properly describe. - Christopher Alexander's Notes On The Synthesis Of  Form concerning the design process...

and quotes about design in general...

Questions about whether design is necessary or affordable are quite beside the point: design is inevitable. The alternative to good design is bad design, not no design at all. Everyone makes design decisions all the time without realizing it,­like Moliere's M. Jourdain who discovered he had been speaking prose all his life­, and good design is simply the result of making these decisions consciously, at the right stage, and in consultation with others as the need arise - Douglas Martin (Book Design)

The details are not the details. They make the design. - Charles Eames

In theory, theory and practice are the same, but in practice, they're not. "If I can see it, it's a failure" - Bill Buxton

Just because it isn't done doesn't mean it can't be done. Just because it can be done doesn't mean it should be - Barry Glasford

The best journey is the one with the fewest steps. Shorten the distance between the user and their goal.

A picture is worth a thousand words and that's the problem! 
A picture is worth a thousand words, but it will take longer to download 
A picture is worth a thousand words, unless of course, you're talking about a picture of a thousand words.
For any given thousand words, it's hard to come up with a picture - Yuri Englehart

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

1:58 AM  
Blogger Mathy (Simpson) said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:15 PM  
Blogger Mathy (Simpson) said...

I would say, even before this new idea you have suggested about them being separate and not just being combined in two ways, that i never really put that much emphasis on the form follows function or vice versa. To me i have always viewed it as a more organic situation and i dont worry myself by over analysing the matter.
When designing a product you will come to understand what it needs to do, this may be look good, it may be to have durability, it can be both, alot of products have multiple functions. Whether a product is form follows... or function follows... is upto the designer and what their conclusion is, if they feel or if its obvious one takes precedent then so be it. It is for me not a hugely debateable part of designing something.

Plus you speak of it only in terms of physical objects. what about when you come to discuss services and designing non physical enities, a designer can do this to. How do you apply such a rigid concept to the designing of a buisness stragety to boost client- provider relationships for example?
Is there a form? Yes!
Is there a function? undoubtedly! But is the order of importance clear? no, an it doesnt need to be, they are two separate things, they can blend and follow each other, but they are BOTH driving the design,they are not competing elements of the design

8:22 PM  
Blogger Mathy (Simpson) said...

I said that form and function do not compete but to make sure im am understood i will add, that when a product (and i mean something designed for a user, whether it be a physical or non physicla design)
is complete the elements do not compete, they are doing separate things.

When the designer is creating a product they must decide, and it can be difficult but thats the job, how much function is following and how much form is following, but there isnt a rule that its always one way. as i said its not a rigid thing. a mobile phone can be very aesthetic but have weak function, another the oppositie, it all depends on the choice of the designer, they will seek to bring the best of both but sometimes inevitably one will take precedent in a certain area perhaps.

It, like people is unique everytime, even if it doesnt seem that way.

8:31 PM  
Blogger blessed not stressed said...

individuals are unique by design ... good design, God's design :)

9:03 PM  

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