What is good design?

Good design is not just what looks good. It also needs to perform, convert, astonish, and fulfill its purpose. It can be innovative or it might just get the job done.

A good design cannot be measured by a finite way – multiple perspectives are needed.

Inspired by Dieter Rams, I’ve long kept a list of what I think good design is. It is ever expanding and some things are more important in some projects than other. Below is how my list looks right now – greatly inspired by Dieter Rams, but focused more on online design.

Good design is innovative

Innovative design can both be a break-through product or service, and a redesign of an existing product or service. A break-throughproduct adds a before unseen value and function to the market and the user, while a redesign improves an existing product.

Innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself2.

Good design is functional

Useful design fills its intended function – and likely both a primary and secondary function. A useful design solves problems and through its design it optimizes a given functionality.

Good design makes a product useful

“It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasises the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.”2