Instructions How to Write

Describing Designs

Good Design:

For two of the following categories, choose an example of something you think is well designed. Use objects or spaces in your immediate environment, such as in your home or office, or a neighborhood store or public space. (Don’t use pictures from books, magazines, or the Internet. You must actually see the object or space.)

A piece of furniture, decorative object, or lighting fixture
An architectural detail, such as a door, a window, a stair railing, a decorative detail, etc.
A space, such as a room, an area of a building, an outdoor garden or plaza, etc.
Then photograph your examples of good design. You might need to use more than one photograph to adequately portray the examples.

Explain why you think your choices are well designed. Include both functionality and aesthetic issues in your discussion. Refer to the design elements and compositional strategies that are relevant to your example. Design elements: form (point, line, plane, volume), shape, color, light, texture, and pattern. Compositional strategies: proportion, scale, balance, harmony, unity and variety, rhythm, and emphasis.

Attempt to quantify your position. It’s not enough to say that you “just like the way it looks.” Analyze why you are having a particular response to your choices. Intuition is part of the process and will help to guide you, but the design process requires analytical reasoning skills.

Bad Design:

Now choose two other objects or spaces in the same manner listed above, but focus your explanation on why you think your choices are poorly designed.

And don’t forget to rely on your intuition! This is a very important aspect of your design personality that you will need to rely on as a successful designer.

Each one of your choices (two examples of good design and two examples of bad design) should have several sentences of analysis. Using only one or two sentences shows that you haven’t thought through your analysis well enough. Attempt to quantify your position. It's not enough to say that you "just like the way it looks". Analyze why you are having a particular response to your choices. Intuition is part of the process and will help to guide you, but the design process requires analytical reasoning skills.

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