A topic that has been of great debate for centuries amongst many in design, philosophy and the arts.
Many may have heard the saying that goes “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, which claims that beauty is subjective, but I have some thoughts that challenge this very idea. To make it known, I will be discussing beauty as it relates to design, a topic that was started in Mario Estioko’s Graphic Design 125: Visual Princinples I course. In addition to the question posed in class “What does beautiful mean to you when talking about design?”, I would like to pose a second question and that is “Are we limited on our perception of beauty in design by how much knowledge we hold of design and art in the world?”
First, it is important to know a general meaning of the word “beauty.” A common dictionary defines it as a combination of qualities such as shape, color, or form that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially sight. Since design encompasses most of these elements, beauty and design are then directly related. Now, leading me to answer the first question, a beautiful design is something that connects with its audience at multiple levels, is dynamic in its combination of forms and color, and holds a message for its intended audience that can be made clear.
“Is our perception of beauty limited by the knowledge of design and art that any one of us holds?”
After having defined beauty in a general sense of the term, as well as in relation to design and what I believe it means, I arrived at my second question. Is our perception of beauty limited by the knowledge of design and art that any one of us holds? Furthermore, if I come to question the beauty of a design, whom do I seek for help to form a valid opinion and decide whether it is beautiful or not? In an attempt to answer this question, I refer back to the saying of beauty in the eye of the beholder.
“...whom do I seek for help to form a valid opinion...”
I add to this saying that beauty is not necessarily in the eye of the beholder but in the one who beholds extensive knowledge of what is beautiful. It is important to be able to comprehend and understand beauty in design, which are things that only come from learning and being knowledgeable about design. In knowing what makes design and what makes a design good, one becomes more informed and able to hold a more authoritative opinion. Some may argue that beauty is strictly subjective and there might be some valid arguments to that opinion, but I would say that the majority would agree that truly beautiful design is design that is admired by most and withstands the test of time.
To those that go against a well formed opinion of what is beautiful design, I would conclude that it might be so because you may not be as knowledgeable on the piece or subject and therefore not understnading the design brings you to this concesus that it is not beautiful.
In conclusion, the cencept of beautiful design is one that is extremely complex and can not be simply defined in a general manner. Beautiful design is design that should appeal to most and should be credited as beautiful design by those with authority who have knowledge and understanding of design and its history. Beautiful design is a combination of forms and color delivering a message to an audience, which has been created by someone who is skilled and is able to relate to that audience. Beautiful design is unifying and flows well, leading ones sight around the composition making them feel intrigued and wanting to linger to find out more about the design.