Why Design Matters

Why Design Matters


Design is the posh word for thinking a lot about how stuff looks A designed object is one whose makers worked long and hard to get it just right Most of the world has sadly not been well designed, it’s full of office towers, door handles, bed, lamps, and plates, that have been deeply unloved and were thrown together in a hurry by untalented people When many people around the world lack the bare necessities, it can be tempting to say that good design can’t really matter that much But we’re arguing that it does, desperately so, because of a weird quirk of our psychology We feel like, and are in a sense, quite different people depending on what’s in front of our eyes A dark brooding sky brings out certain feelings, a bright blue one others This kind of bedroom makes you feel one way, that one another Design matters because our identities and moods are fluid and shifting and it’s often the quality of the designed environment that determines whether we’ll feel confident or defeated, at ease or guarded, generous spirited, or alienated One of the great debates about how much design should matter took place in the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe between the Catholics and the Protestants Broadly speaking, the Protestants didn’t believe in spending much money on design They put up simple, functional churches, painted them plain white inside with minimal fuss and bother Nowadays, many Protestant churches continue to look extraordinarily cheap and basic The intellectual thought here is that what really matters is certain ideas and these enter your mind through your understanding, not through your senses You can get close to God by reading the Bible in a hayloft; you don’t need a fancy building But the Catholics beg to differ They invested so heavily in design: in stunning stain glass windows, beautiful carved angels, and passionate renditions of the life of Christ because they fervently believed that our environments do change who we are We may be further or nearer God, depending on what’s on the wall and how high the ceiling is Governments have always understood and respected the underlying idea that design changes us Nazi designers like Albert Speer paid a huge amount of attention to making sure the design world would speak of Nazi values like aggression and power Just as modern German architects have tried to ensure that contemporary Berlin will project an image of democracy, peace, and openness We mold ourselves to the spirit that emanates from the objects around us, we become a little as they are Even if we’re not always able to say quite how objects make us feel, we all sense a spirit, better or worse, that emanates from a given set of objects We’re generally good at playing that game where you try to imagine what sort of person the work of design would turn into if it miraculously became human When we call an object of design beautiful, what we’re really saying is that if it turned into a person it would be someone we liked, someone maybe dignified or self-possessed, intelligent or adventurous Beauty is a promise of goodness and ugliness is evocative of nothing short of despair and evil And that’s why beautiful design matters because it encourages our better sides, while ugly design stokes our worst ones We need to make sure the world around us is well designed, not out of some superfluous expensive taste, but because good design helps us to be the best versions of ourselves

100 thoughts on “Why Design Matters

  1. I'm glad that I came across this channel. Your videos have made me see the world in a new way, and a better way. Each video is unique and it never feels like the ideas are stale. Keep up the good work! I'll keep watching!

  2. it's great to see this video.
    a kind of sequel to the "bad taste" video.

    I wish to find to closest thing to that could exist to objective good taste.
    but not only in sight object (fashion, architecture, design) but probably to find that in food (or any other senses)

    I had an argument about taste:
    If an egg would cost 200$ and rib-eye steak cost 2$.
    my opinion was that there will still be no luxury in eggs like that fact that we don't see snake's eggs as a gourmet dish.
    But the taste about food is more complicated because of the history with food (like the history with eggs for example that could make it a luxury if cost 200$ now).

  3. School of life please fix this. The audio on most of your videos is low, and the speaker in some parts gets "muted" by the other sounds or the background music .I want to hear more about philosophy than the sound fx or the music.

  4. Design in the more cosmetic sense doesn't madder to everyone. I'm stood on top a mountains and I'm felt the same way I do know siting on my couch.

  5. Well I love the sound effects. And the animation, for that matter. It's like as Monty Python / Heath Robinson mash-up.

    Alain db deserves a Plain English Award.

  6. I think it is a jump to say because the Halo Effect exists, being around nice things makes us more moral people.

  7. Comparing this to Em's videos and the replies to it, it sure seems visual context helps. At the very least in this video it's easier for the viewer to comprehend exactly what you speak of when you say Nazi Design, for example.

    Sure, this isn't too relevant to Plato's ideas perhaps, but it does help to set the mood – to focus the mind.

    Em can still do her videos without visual context, but I do believe they'll be better off including something more than a summary of books, you guys have plenty of great ideas so I'm sure you'll figure it out one way or another.

    Keep up all the great work on this channel!

  8. Say what you will about Nazi Germany, but Albert Spear did create some good architecture.

    The Allis must have hated it, considering the Carpet Bombing and all.

  9. This is quickly becoming my favorite channel on YouTube.

    You guys will easily, if not already, become the quintessence of online philosophical education.  

    I wish you guys continued success.

  10. Hasn't the disney film, Beauty and the Beast had any influence on your phrase of "ugliness is nothing short of despair and evil" lol I believe a comment below made the same comment. Also, even ugly designs have a purpose whether its ugly through your eyes or beautiful to another. Ultimately, design is important because its a form of expression to serve a purpose. Not simply due to a poor sense of creativity. apologies mate for being a bit critical with these clips but, I really share your concern for the viewers education.

  11. If you have a soul design matters. What kind of design? It depends on your soul. Thank you School of Life, you are excellent.

  12. I agree and appreciate with most of what is said in this video, although defining design as "a posh word for thinking a lot about how stuff looks" is WRONG! 

    This is the mistake that most people make. The average person always associates with design as just visual aesthetics but this isn't true because design is actually about human EXPERIENCE (think about industrial, interactive, systems or sound design). Design always has a purpose as well (this is the difference between art and design) to that the design must solve a problem. For example, a building that is DESIGNED for people in wheelchairs – it can be as beautiful as buildings go, but if it doesn't serve the function (to accommodate the person in the wheelchair's experience with this building) it is bad design. A website designer designing for an online store must design the website with easy navigation to turn more viewers to customers – if navigation is difficult, it is bad design. 

    Design is important because it is the method we use to IMPROVE THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE and solve specific problems.

  13. you should do a video regarding fashion, and the transition we have taken from 100 years ago, to the disgusting market of fast fashion

  14. Out of curiosity, isn't it possible for someone who adopts this frame of thinking to develop an over reliance on material things (The thought that buying certain things complete you as a person)?

  15. 0:15 Why is Birmingham constantly viewed as an example of poor design? It's hardly London, but it hasn't been a concrete jungle for years, the building you pictured (the Rotunda) looks beautiful since its refurbishment.

  16. Good piece, guys,

    Though I have to admit to being slightly disappointed that you chose to focus solely on the aesthetic aspect of design and did not explore the hugely important role design plays in defining processes and ultimately being responsible for the success or failure in the fundamental workings of the designed object.

    For example, well-designed bridges don't easily collapse; well-designed government websites make it easier for more people to gain access to important information and vital benefits; well-designed automobiles are safer and result in less fatalities, etc.

    I feel that the general public holds a perception of design as nothing more than "lipstick on a pig" or a "skin" on a finished product, when in reality, it is the attention paid to design (or the lack thereof) that ultimately makes or breaks said product; makes it work or not work.

    Thank you guys, and keep it up
    I really enjoy your work.

  17. This video makes the mistake of conveying design is just about looks. Sometimes it is about looks, but most importantly design is about function.

  18. This video is misleading, It suggests good design is about making something look pretty above all else, which is wrong. Good design is about function, then form.

  19. Just watched the Spinoza "film". The section here on the debate between Catholic and Protestant reminded me of part of that. Seems to me, in this case, the Catholic Church was saying this is how things (humans) are and going with it, as Spinoza suggested. The Protestants are saying this is how we should be… some arguments for both but I know I always like visting Catholic buildings more… unless it's Anglican… which is sort of the same. They have more presence.

  20. What about people who are beautiful on the outside and terrible people and vice versa. Do ugly people make us feel negative emotions ?

  21. Interesting! "Beauty is a promise of goodness" sounds like something a "philosopher" like Kanye West would say in one of his design lectures… and at the same time we are lucky enough to have his dear wife Kim teach us about authenticity via her Instagram feed. Isn't this sentiment a reflection of a superficial and myopic culture? Reflecting on the examples provided in this clip, has humanity actually learnt anything from history? If you focus on good design alone, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that it can be used to exploit.

  22. i dont know why..but i felt the need to clarify that @00:37 its Dieter Rams who appears.. He is a German industrial designer closely associated with the consumer products company Braun and the Functionalist school of industrial design, his work was also a big inspiration for Apple's industrial designer Jonathan Ive.. i have to say that i love this kind of attention to details in this Channel's Videos 🙂

  23. I think that the Protestants would argue that God helps us be the best versions of ourselves and since communion with God happens independent of design, then, design does not matter and is a waste of the gifts God has given us.

    Just playing "devil's advocate" so to speak.

  24. Design is not just meant to make things look good : affordance, ergonomy are important for a good design. Most of the time it is about Keeping It Simple, Stupid.

  25. Absolutely!  I make my home and my garden as beautiful, peaceful and restful as I can. I find it healing, a place of comfort and delight. I remove anything ugly or useless.

  26. I have to disagree with the aesthetic argument here. Its only important for things to be designed with function in mind. Things being designed with superfluous features that are purely for the sake of "looking nice" is a waste of resources usually and always a waste of time. That is unless it can be argued that the aesthetic beauty of something is part of the function such as a painting to inspire conversation in an otherwise boring office building.

  27. Such a functionalist view will always come across weirdly to an æsthet. But it's still a very valid and good line of argument, provided it doesn't become the only one, pretending beauty needs a purpose other than itself and this purpose is only societal mood control.

  28. It is rubbish to suggest that the central motivation of the Catholic Church was to inspire by "design". The purpose is to render postulates humble in the presence of the Church. This is accomplished through a display of enormous wealth and pageantry. The more ornate and overloaded the more powerful the impact. The Church was and is the center of arts and thinking, the main economic power in predominantly Catholic nations. The construction and maintenance of them is a controlling economic, spiritual, political, and social force. It inspires to enslave populations, not to merely expand consciousness.

  29. You guys should do a video about "beauty in the ugly". There are several works of art (music, paintings, buildings) that are so terrifying, sad and ugly, in a sublime way, that makes them absolutely beautiful.

  30. =It may make us feel rather small that we "need" good designs to keep us in our best position. But I certainly agree that they improve how we feel and is still indeed an important way to a achieve the best of ourselves.

  31. What a gem this channel is 🙂 Lovely work guys! I'm sure it take a lot of resources to get to this finite product. Congrats!

  32. I agree completely with the points you make, however visual is just one aspect. One must design with visual, functional and structural integrity. Many even add on the component of environmental integrity. A great designer makes statements and adds to their environment by designing. Furthermore I would say that design is more of a verb than a noun. It is the act of arranging elements to achieve a particular purpose. The purpose may be to look good, but many purposes are much more subtle. Love the videos though, and would love to see you guys do one on the great thought leaders in design such as Charles/Ray Eames, William McDonough and especially Bucky Fuller.

  33. Great video and channel. I hope you have more, on design, in the works. The world needs better design and understanding of it. It relates so well to all the other awesome subjects of these videos.

  34. i feel as though ive sinned so much cuz i laughed at the holy finger painting thing like.. slaps God's hand amg im sorry.

  35. Wrong!
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    I don't see any useless frames around windows, and I love that look.

  36. It would be really nice if there's English subtitle for non-English speakers
    to understand such valuable piece of information better. 🙂

  37. if all of your opinions were based on statistics, your credence would be deserved. opinion versus statistics makes your posts irrelevant.

  38. Good design, like philosophy, should be familiar and common to everyone. It is ludicrous that it's often perceived as some high brow, elite pursuit.

  39. Beautifully done video. It sounds like you are speaking more about the art of things rather than the design of things though.

  40. I hate western architecture so much. It is only built for functionality and quick, inexpensive means. I also live in a city that has contributed literally nothing to the beauty it could potentially have. I believe the ugliness of the city really adds a depressing feel, maybe that's why suicide rates are so high in the western world

    Also, I can't help but mention the tragedy of how many beautiful chapels, churches and cathedrals that were destroyed during war. Many 15th-17th century buildings were just horribly demolished. I'm no religious person, in fact I hate religion, but the craftsmanship and history that was nearly erased is a true tragedy

  41. I beg to differ we can learn from failure more then from succes so ugly things should teach us the same or more then beautiful things

  42. Isn't it weird how Kanye West stresses this point so much but still doesn't come halfway clear when trying to convey the same message?

  43. Would very much appreciate and love a video about Universal Design and mostly one of Universal Design for Learning

  44. Since you brought it up (visually) by showing the Sistine Chapel ceiling, I've always wondered, why do Adam's nads look so incredibly pathetic, ruptured, even?  Which one is his penis, and what's going on with his balls?  This has always looked horrible to me, even painful.

  45. Take a look at this facebook page they are highly professional designers, https://www.facebook.com/creativeowldesign

  46. NO NO NO, its not about how people think long and hard about how things look. It is ONLY about how humans think about solving problems, not just works, who it works for and how well without harming others

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