For the final time this Teaching Period we will be looking at selected design principles with relation to my final presentation and a media artefact from the chosen field. How quickly that time has gone! In this post we will be exploring the application of form following function – having previously touched on the importance of design function in Part 1 – and performance over preference with direct application to both my presentation and a promotional card from Soylent Green (1973).
Lidwell, Holden & Butler (2010) explore the idea of form following function as a guide, by defining it in two broadly defined areas.
- Descriptive interpretation – that beauty results from purity of function
- Prescriptive interpretation – that aesthetic considerations should be second to functionality (something that ties in nicely with performance over preference)
Lidwell et. al (2010, p. 106) explains that designers should not ask “What aspects of the design should be removed for function” rather encouraging the approach of “What aspects of the design are critical to the success”. In the case of this presentation – as highlighted in the design principles identified in the first three parts – the use of easy to read text, easy to follow layouts and easy to view schematics aim to satisfy the descriptive interpretation of Lidwell et al.’s approach. By doing this the design also simultaneously demonstrates the performance over preference. Initially the final presentation had been earmarked as a long style report which would have been able to easily satisfy (at length) the benefits of the effective use of design principles. Performance wise this would have been sufficient, however, to maximize the overall effect of the presentation it seemed logical to minimize the reading and go for a more visually grounded and stimulating format – which would most likely be the preference of most audience members if given the choice between the two.
Like the ever evolving presentation that is slowly coming together these principals can also be seen in the final artefact of this case study – the promotional card from Soylent Green (1973). As most developed promotional material is uniform to create resonance with audiences and create an instant association with the film industry the function of a promotional card or poster will always follow form. The common form being a title and tagline, an image, and the names of the biggest participants in the feature. The uniformity of this approach also satisfies the criteria of performance over preference as, despite not listing every single detail or plot line (performance), the promotional card gives the audience enough information to make an educated decision on whether or not they want to engage (preference).
While not necessarily evident in the physical content of a design both of these design principles are paramount to ensuring that the maximum result is achieved when presented to the target audience. Regardless of changes to the industry, or the field in which it is applied, this will remain a constant throughout the present and future of design.
Lidwell, W Holden, K & Butler, J 2010, Universal principles of design: 125 ways to enhance usability, influence perception, increase appeal, make better design decisions, and teach through design, Rockport Publishers, Beverly, MA.
Soylent Green 1973, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, United States, Directed by Richard Fleischer
Soylent Green Promotional Card, n.d., image, pinterest.com, viewed January 29th 2017<https://williamcolvin.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/09d4639f843d4b29781e8ccdf5bc2b97.jpg>