What makes something well designed

Nitesh Kumar
Jan 18, 2014 · 2 min read

I’ve always asked myself, “What makes something well designed?” Is it the colours, the material, the form, the delightful effects or the simplicity?

Well, here is my definition.

It is the touch of aluminium, that you know, can take a fall. It inculcates trust and confidence. You know something is well designed when you hold it in your hands or use it for the first time. It feels just right — nothing less, nothing more.

It does not matter if it’s flat or skeuomorphic as long as it serves the purpose. Good design enables you to do things. It makes you go on and do something you had never tried before without making you think about the consequences if something went wrong because it convinces you that it won’t let that happen.

It doesn’t confuse delight with surprise. It doesn’t bewilder you with things you don’t expect. It makes you feel that delight is not limited to just colours or font or shapes. It makes you understand the deeper meaning of delight — something like people appreciating a painting of yours you just shared.

It doesn’t make you ask questions. If it makes you think about itself rather than it’s purpose or the job it does, even for one second, it has failed. It makes you go, “Of course it is that way. Why would it be any other way?”. It’s job is not to draw your attention towards itself. Rather it is to get out of your way and help you focus on the task at hand.

It is not a layer that you put at the end make something you built to make it look beautiful. It is form and function in equal amounts. Design of something well designed starts from day zero. If you know the day when you were done designing something and started engineering it, you are doing it wrong. You must not be able to pick a day because design is not a layer of clothes that you cover your product with in the end. It is the very flesh and bones of whatever you are building.

And at last, Good design is never perfect. If you think that you’ve reached a point where you think that your design is perfect, it’s not. It needs Iterations.

This list is by no means, exhaustive but these are the things which I think make something well designed.

Dots & Dashes

Hi, I’m Nitesh. I’m a designer and this is me trying to organise my thoughts.

Nitesh Kumar

Written by

Product Designer @Helpshift . Always learning . lover of food, dogs and people.

Dots & Dashes

Hi, I’m Nitesh. I’m a designer and this is me trying to organise my thoughts.

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