FORM / DESIGN

Louis Sullivan (1856-1924), the American architect, was the first to use the phrase – Form Ever Follows Function and used this doctrine throughout his career when designing new buildings. Many modern designers today look upon this phrase as the law governing the design process.

American designers of the 1930’s and 1940’s such as, Raymond Loewy, Norman Bel Geddes and Henry Dreyfus found contradiction in this phrase during their own design processes for blenders, locomotives and duplicating machines.

Raymond Loewy decided on a new formulation as a basis for the design procedure, ‘MAYA’ which is an acronym meaning ‘Most Advanced Yet Acceptable’. This phrase tried to explain the difference between the design function and the design aesthetics. Function is constrained by maths, materials and logic were as the design aesthetics are constrained only by the consumers’ anticipation and acceptance.

The form which a product takes will affect its saleability. The desire to buy a product by a consumer is usually based primarily on its form and secondarily on its functions.

The main criteria for determining form are: - Colour, Shape, Weight, Ergonomics, Texture, Positioning.

Colour

This is a major factor to be considered when designing a product. Black, white and silver tend to be the most popular choices of today’s consumer and it is a choice every consumer makes as an important part of a products design.

A design that incorporates more than one colour is also a possibility, but care must be taken to use complimentary colours that are pleasing to the eye.

Shape

This is the physical form the product will take. The main criteria are: - Fashion, Comfort, Practicality, Size

Fashion: In order to persuade a customer to buy your product, it is important to consider the current fashion or, if the designer is forward sighted, produce a product that is radical in design thus starting a new fashion trend.

Comfort: This depends on the use of the right materials and the texture of the material, to produce a produce a product that is comfortable to wear or to use.

Practicality: The product must be practical to use with functions that do not confuse the user or functions that are unnecessary.

Size: This depends on the situation into which the product is being placed. Space may be at a premium where the product is being installed or there may be space in abundance. It also depends on the ergonomics of the user.

Weight

The weight of a unit which is designed for a specific purpose depends on whether it is to be portable or is to be fitted into another product. The product in question is to be mounted in a vehicle, therefore its’ weight should not be a factor in the design process.

Ergonomics

This is the study of the human body movement and critical measurements which are major factors in the design of the product in order for the user (vehicle driver) to access the relevant unit operations and information.

Texture

The texture of the product is less important if the product is not hand-held. It does not need to be tactile or pleasant to the touch, the only criteria is that the operation, whether touch screen or push button, are not an unpleasant experience for the user.