Whenever you are around human creations, you are in a designed environment. Everything from buildings to shoes to books to cars was designed by someone. Most people, particularly in cities, are around design of one kind or another 24 hours a day. Design is so ubiquitous that many cease to notice it consciously, but design continues to affect them in the way that they interact with the world.
The field of industrial design is responsible for tools, household goods, transportation and the thousands of manufactured things that modern people use every day. Good industrial design weds efficient performance with beauty and convenience. Outstanding industrial design is relatively rare; the process of designing a product that will excel in both performance and public acceptance of its appearance is difficult. Many people consider the 1920s and 1930s to have been a high point of industrial design. The converging influences of modernism, art deco and the exhilaration of the jazz age resulted in classic design in everything from salt shakers to airplanes.
Graphic design encompasses any visual representation in two dimensions that is reproduced for commercial purposes. The public experience of graphic design is most common in the form of magazines, newspapers, billboards, book and CD covers, and online websites. Graphic design harnesses the possibilities of everything from lithography to silk screening to typography to create compelling and engaging advertisements, announcements, public service signs and utilitarian elements such as elevator buttons and cell phone skins. In the same way that industrial design combines convenience with beauty, graphic design combines legibility and clear messaging with engaging visual presentation.
Interior design is a sub-field of architecture that focuses on the interaction of people with the spaces they inhabit. A talented interior designer can take an undeveloped space that feels cold and alienating and transform it into a welcoming home. Techniques to accomplish this include furniture selection and placement, wall and floor coverings, artwork, plants and lighting. Depending on the clients and their preferences, interior design can vary widely in the effects that it produces. Some older houses are renovated and decorated to evoke an earlier time, while others are equipped with the latest in sleek modern appliances and cutting edge decor.
In a sense, fashion design is really people design, because it creates the looks that people wear on their bodies, reflecting more personally than any other form of design the self that people hope to convey to the world. Fashion design can range from practical work clothes for everyday use to the most impractical and whimsical designs that are virtually never seen away from fashion runways. Fashion allows people to use themselves as a blank canvas for art, and to turn their exteriors into a mirror of what they are experiencing inside.
- leaf design image by cherie from Fotolia.com