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Guest Phil Cater

Form Follows Function?

  

36 members have voted

  1. 1. Should Form follow function?

    • Yes
      28
    • No
      8


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Guest Daniel_J

The first appeareance of "fff" is, as far as I know, linked to Louis Sullivan. A misinterpretation of this leading principle led to puristic and non-ornamental design (e.g. bauhaus). But Sullivan also said, that the emotional aspects and aesthetics are important functions, too.

So the functions of an object doesn´t have to be exclusively technical or ergonomical defined.

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Guest csven
so then is everyone in agreement that the under pinning factor of all design, the start point is the functioning of a product or are there any other views can anyone give examples of where function followed form?
I wouldn't say "design" without qualifying it as something implying non-artistic purpose, such as "industrial design" or "product design", because this is a context sensitive issue and needs qualifiers.

 

At this point in time, the key issue imo is purpose.

 

Form follows function works so well for industrial design because in a commercial context function and expectation are the generally understood starting point. Industrial design was born of industrial requirements, not the art world's.

 

In the art context, either form follows function or function follows form. It doesn't matter which because that's an individual choice.

 

Where things get tricky is when an artist uses function follows form and then creates a business model around the result. I'd say Warhol is the best example of someone exploring this gray area between art and commerce. But in the context of this forum and the current state of industry, such inversions are rare. That said, this is an area of particular interest to me, as the convergence of virtual and real together with rapid-manufacturing technology, will almost certainly force us to re-examine context in the not-too-distant future. But by then, more people will agree with me that "industrial" design is dead. :)

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Guest ngon87

Form and function should go hand in hand. Yes a product has to be functional but if it was just that then all products in the world will be bland Ikea products. A successful design is one with personality, colour and detail and if a product has enough of all three, function comes second. A successful design has to relate and be personal to many people. Buyers have to enjoy using the product over and over again otherwise, like with Ikea products, people get bored of the product. You wouldnt rush back and tell your friends that you have bought an Ikea product because you wouldnt feel proud to own it. The opposite can be said of Starck's products.

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Guest csven
Form and function should go hand in hand. Yes a product has to be functional but if it was just that then all products in the world will be bland Ikea products. A successful design is one with personality, colour and detail and if a product has enough of all three, function comes second. A successful design has to relate and be personal to many people. Buyers have to enjoy using the product over and over again otherwise, like with Ikea products, people get bored of the product. You wouldnt rush back and tell your friends that you have bought an Ikea product because you wouldnt feel proud to own it. The opposite can be said of Starck's products.

You're using an unnecessarily strict definition of "function". Go back and read Daniel_J's, tbroen's and michaelAtSPG's comments; as well as my initial comment. We're all saying that function is defined and, as a result, the best output is not necessarily "bland".

 

Again, toys are a good example. If Fun is the function, then a bland form fails, does it not?

 

And I'd venture most everyone here, especially the professionals, is well aware of what a successful design requires (and fwiw, Ikea is extraordinarily successful) so please don't use the standard design groupie argument.

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Guest ashley_1986

is that because though a starck piece is of much more prominence and iconic status than an ikea piece

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Guest carolineb

Well I do agree that in most cases function is the top priority when designing a product. However I have an example of a company that creates products, thinking of funtion second... www.rebycle.co.uk

This company collects old bike parts and turns them into new products for the consumer market. They obviously have the form given to them first (a bike chain or wheel) and then they come up with a funtion for it, such as a bracelet or clock.

 

I realise that this is not a perfect example, because they are not creating the form themselves, but still illustrates the point. Other companies reuse old items by turning them into different products, and of course there are artists/designers that create 'functional art', where they are more concerned with the form than the function.

 

Also I think that furniture designers can sometimes lean to having form as their priority when creating artistic pieces. A decorative table, for instance, needn't have much thought about the function, as long as it can stand up and hold a drink or book it satisfies its functional requirements. So some designers take the liberty to create wonderful forms without having to worry about 'whether it works'.

 

And lets not forget designers like Phillippe Starck who was clearly not thinking of function first and formost when creating the juicy salif! I agree that function should come before form, but alternative views do exist.

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Guest csven
Well I do agree that in most cases function is the top priority when designing a product. However I have an example of a company that creates products, thinking of funtion second... www.rebycle.co.uk

This company collects old bike parts and turns them into new products for the consumer market. They obviously have the form given to them first (a bike chain or wheel) and then they come up with a funtion for it, such as a bracelet or clock.

 

I realise that this is not a perfect example, because they are not creating the form themselves, but still illustrates the point.

I'd say that rebycle is using Form follows Function. And their function, based on a look of the website, is to develop interesting but gimmicky products from existing components. The function in this case, in my opinion, is a business model based on an opportunistic approach.

 

Also I think that furniture designers can sometimes lean to having form as their priority when creating artistic pieces. A decorative table, for instance, needn't have much thought about the function, as long as it can stand up and hold a drink or book it satisfies its functional requirements. So some designers take the liberty to create wonderful forms without having to worry about 'whether it works'.
By virtue of acknowledging a "table" still has to "stand up and hold a drink or book", you're supporting the Form follows Function mantra. As far as I'm concerned, the degree to which thought is given to function is irrelevant.

 

And lets not forget designers like Phillippe Starck who was clearly not thinking of function first and formost when creating the juicy salif!
What was Starck's functional intent? I don't know. Was it to create an efficient juicer? Or was the primary (functional) intent to create a conversation piece that can, to some degree, be used as a juicer?

 

Let's not be too quick to judge intent by performance. There are plenty of products that come out of the box working so poorly they're recalled. I'd hesitate to say that the developers weren't thinking of function first. Rather, I'd venture they tried and simply failed.

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Guest Catb

Form and function need to come in conjunction with each other... without form or function a product would not be sucessful. If a product does not look aesthetically appealing then knowone would initally buy the product and just look to the competetitors however if a product does not function well then in the long run users will built up a bad image of the product, meaning that this product does not have a good long term future and the brand image of the particular product could be damaged. Therefore it is important that both aspects are equally important when designing a product!!

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Guest flareon

in my opinion, form does not always follow function. it depends on the product category you are designing for. form example, if you are designing tables and chairs, the form is closely related to the function. yet , there have been chairs that look totally different and have yet been a success.

 

i also think form follows the emotional impact it has on the consumer. often, form also follows the typical product in order to create recognition in the mind of the customer. it can be that the typical form may have been a result of function, or maybe not.

 

so there are many things that form follows other than function. it depends on what the designer wants to focus on. if the product has a special function which would help its sales, then the designer can design to bring out that function. else he can design to bring out something else..

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