mnot’s blog

Design depends largely on constraints.” — Charles Eames

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Arts Protocol Design

Intelligent Design, Eames-Style

For a while, I’ve had the fairly well-known Charles Eames quote “Design depends largely on constraints” as the tagline on my blog (if you read this in a feed aggregator, you’ll have to go to one of the HTML pages to see it).

In putting together one of her classes, Anitra came across the full interview from which it was sourced. The relevant section says it well, whether the topic is furniture design, graphic design or designing the architecture of networked software;

Does the creation of design admit constraint?
Design depends largely on constraints.

What constraints?
The sum of all constraints. Here is one of the few effective keys to the design problem—the ability of the designer to recognize as many of the constraints as possible—his willingness and enthusiasm for working within these constraints—the constraints of price, of size, of strength, balance, of surface, of time, etc.; each problem has its own peculiar list.

Does design obey laws?
Aren’t constraints enough?

Read the whole thing, though; it’s only a single page, and there are a few other gems applicable to programmers as well; e.g.,

Ought form to derive from the analysis of function?
The great risk here is that the analysis may not be complete.