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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Sizzle vs. Steak?

Form follows function

Keep that in mind. I’m going to apply it in several different ways, but the connection to things, events, processes around you is something you’ll need to make on your own.

Form follows function.  It’s a central principle of good design.  For example, if a car body is designed without taking into account wheel travel and range of motion, there’s a good chance that, while it may look cool, it won’t drive right.

Simple, eh?  But it’s more than that, of course. Once mechanical aspects are taken into account, the form will affect the way something is used or interacted with by people in different ways. A minivan and a sports car are both designed to transport people, but that lil 2-seater Miata has its form designed for its function as fun transport, a playtoy, the same as the minivan’s form follows it’s designed function—getting a carload of kids to soccer practice and back safely.

The Bauhaus style of architecture was designed to suit a philosophy that viewed people as interchangeable cogs in an industrial society, and its blank, boxy, depersonalized look is well suited to inhabitation by blank, depersonalized cogs in an industrialized society (which is why it’s so damned ugly). See in apposition the gothic architecture that was designed around an entirely different philosophy: designed to inspire, to draw the eye, the heart, the mind upwards.

Form follows function: slutty womens/girls fashions ("Yeh, baby!") designed to say loudly and clearly: “Here I am, nothing but a sex object.  Grab some ass, honey!”  It’s not just displays of flesh. No, it’s the crude display of secondary sex characteristics in a way designed to encourage men to think the least of the wearer, to see them as nothing but hookups for letting off a little sexual tension.

Yeh, baby, you’ve come a long way… Wanna come on back?  

Go ahead.  Apply the form… function principle to politics. Entertainment. Work. Family. Language.

Haphazard or not; designed for and by ourselves or not, our lives are strictured, pushed, tugged and stalled by the design of many, many elements that we normally don’t even think about.

Count on it.  Someone(s) is(are) thinking about the designs that influence your life. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to look into those designs for yourself?  Maybe you can make some modifications that would be more to your taste and suit who you are.

Sand in the gears…