Today we have a guest post from Australian Journalist, Tom Mallet. You can find out more about him at the end of the article.
If you look objectively at everything in your home, you’ll notice that quite literally every single object, including the home itself, is a product of design. There are multiple types of design methods, but the core process is the innovative, problem solving “mental technology” of design. Every type of design from formatting hardcopy booklet printing to the most esoteric software in its vaguest visualization stage is a design process.
The oldest known designs are an insight into human design at its most practical and most aesthetic points of origin. Ancient humans came up with a range of designs which are indicative of an interesting set of priorities and types of extended logic:
These are still core elements of design logic to this day. The most banal everyday item includes functionality and some sort of aesthetic values. Spiritual and educational materials are dressed up and enhanced with tools and aesthetic designs.
Also harking back to ancient times are some of the physical processes of design and design logic. As every designer in any discipline will find out whether they like it or not, design tools and methods tend to produce new design ideas. Mistakes, random scratchings of basic ideas and even accidents will often contribute to the logic of any design. Designs build on other designs. This has been going on for the whole of human history.
Pottery is a case in point. The ability to create stylized shapes in clay started in prehistory. From that a clear linear process of design leading up to modern ceramic technology is quite obvious. From the design perspective, however, the sheer number of designs based on these original basic techniques and ideas is staggering.
Interestingly, the mechanics of design follow both necessity and visualization, but not necessarily the logic. Recently some old Moorish surgical tools were discovered in Spain. These were good quality surgical instruments, and they were shown to modern surgeons, who recognized most of them, but had no idea what some of the instruments were for. This means, by extrapolation, that either the Moorish surgeons had developed special tools for processes not used today, or they
designed these tools for unknown surgical procedures. In that sense, design is a true logical process, both obvious and tangential depending on a range of practical design issues and the logic associated with them.
If the past history of design was a growing fire of ideas, logic, aesthetics and techniques, the future is likely to be a hypernova of extrapolations of these fundamental design methods. Never before has humanity had the tools to create so many different associations of these basic elements of design. Technology and education are creating infinite, Mandelbrot- like possibilities for design evolution. The next millennium may well be the “Age of Design”. Even 19th century hardcopy products like business card printing are likely to combine with new technologies to produce 3D-printed smart business cards with their own communications systems.
Somewhere in the world, a basic design for a future icon of technology or art is in progress, every day. The ancient designers and their tools are still at work, even now.
Tom Mallet is an Australian freelance writer and journalist. He writes extensively in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the US. He’s published more than 500 articles about various topics, including booklet printing and business card printing.