Designing for Developers

A perennial problem in philosophy of art is that explanations of beauty too easily devolve into poetry. An ambitious thinker sets out to explain beauty, and ends up writing words that are beautiful but do not explain beauty. The reader is complicit, accepting the feeling of beauty instead of its explanation.

Design shares this dilemma with beauty–it’s relatively easy to write ‘designey’ words about design, but it’s difficult to explain how design works. To give a modern example, “chamfered edge” is an exquisite phrase, but it doesn’t explain why some edges have better design than others. As a designer who intends to explain design, please don’t let me pull the chamfered wool over your eyes!