The Duality of Design

On the subject of design Steve Jobs once said 'some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it's really how it works'. This quote perfectly captures the duality of design and how it is frequently misunderstood. Many think of design as primarily visual in nature and that it's measured by how beautiful something is. These people aren't wrong, well, not totally wrong at least. Things that are beautifully designed are often beautiful in appearance.

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This isn't just true about products, it's also important when designing experiences. For example, you can create a beautiful looking website, but if it takes forever to load or perhaps the Store Locator doesn't work properly, then the website has failed - despite it's beauty. As brand touchpoints increasingly move away from passively consumed, 2-dimensional artifacts towards interactive, 3-dimensional experiences, the functional side of design will grow in importance. Having a partner who understands this duality and offers expertise in both will be requisite for success.


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