Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation.
A rather grand statement, but it was made by Steve Jobs. To give the full quote:
Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.
When you hold an object in your hands your mind is searching for its soul, be this a fork, a camera, a cup or a smartphone. I believe that when we are analysing the object, we are looking for its humanity, its human qualities, and those qualities are communicated not just from the surface but from within and from the whole. Jobs went on to say of the iMac:
The iMac is not just the color or translucence or the shape of the shell. The essence of the iMac is to be the finest possible consumer computer in which each element plays together.
Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, said, “We don’t talk just about the looks, but how objects communicate: The specific shape, how it feels in the hand, under the fingers, how you read it in the eye and the mind. This is what Steve Jobs cared passionately about.”
We have all experienced that feeling where, upon seeing a new gorgeous thing, have slowly seen through the veneer to a more disappointing experience of the thing. This often happens with a car, a person or a brand. The brand promised so much, but eventually it let you down and the shine went right off it, now you hate the logo that represents that brand.
Great designers create until they can sense the soul of their design, and they modify it until they love that soul.