To the uninitiated, design may seem more like an art than a science, but while there may be no one winning formula or aesthetic, there is undoubtable objectivity to "good design." Much like scientific practice, good design solves problems through experimentation. We identify issues, prototype and render solutions, test our concepts, and seek to continually improve the results.
Design that improves our well-being is becoming an increasingly important marker of success, as Rachelle Schoessler Lynn notes in this month's ASID column—and through science we are becoming better and better at doing it. As I write this month's letter, I'm on my way to our inaugural Design Connections conference for healthcare design. There, many conversations will center on chemical red lists, HPDs, and how design, when done right, is scientifically proven to help heal.
On that note, psychologist Nicola Davies shares her insights on
how design elements spanning the five senses can shape our mood,
influence behavior, and enhance healing in healthcare environments.
In her IIDA column, Felice Silverman brings up a fabulous story we heard at the BIFMA 360 Conference a few weeks ago. The MIT Self-Assembly Lab, directed by Skylar Tibbits, is redefining material development and how it affects the design process. They are calling on tools like DNA manipulation and nanorobotics to rethink the way we assemble and install products.
Plus, we've searched the globe for interesting innovations in material development, and found some cool new products, processes, and gadgets that might very well change the way we work.
Look out for our Art of Design issue later this year, when we will explore the process of taking these scientific ways of thinking and adding a seamless, effortless layer of beauty to the results. That, we would argue, is the
ultimate marker of truly good design.