UX-Article: Authentic Design - and another bad Article about Flat Design
I am so sick and tired of made-up and historically inaccurate Postings like these (and I mean the original Article):“Authentic Design” – Authentic to what?!“Authentic design aims to pierce through falsehood and do away with superfluousness. Authentic design is about using materials without masking them in fake textures, showcasing their strengths instead of trying to hide their weaknesses. Authentic design is about doing away with features that are included only to make a product appear familiar or desirable but that otherwise serve no purpose. Authentic design is about representing function in its most optimal form, about having a conviction in elegance through efficiency. Authentic design is about dropping the crutches of external ornament and finding beauty in pure content.”
There is no such Thing as “Authentic Design”.authentic (Adjective)
* Of undisputed origin; genuine: “authentic 14th-century furniture”.
* Made or done in the traditional or original way: “authentic Italian meals”.
What the Author has done is reinventing the Mission Statement of industrial Design and Ergonomics. What he does is that he simply indulges the “Form follows Function” Argument and throws in the usual Worship of Bauhaus.Question of Materials
Design was also mostly a Question of Material. Until the Invention of Bakelite most (metallic) Consumer Goods had to be simple for Machine Production. Bakelite allowed more ornamental and elegant Shapes, compared to Metal.The Influence of the Protestant Work Ethic on modern Design
The Author also ignores completely the long lasting Differences of the Split of (Church) Art since the Reformation and the underlying philosophical Approaches.
Here we have the literal Foundation of the Protestant Work Ethic and Iconoclasm on one Side (no Image whatsoever) – and the ornamental Orgasm of Baroque and Rococo on the other.
Especially Calvinism – today still expressed by Shaker Design – was highly frugal and “Anti-Anything”. Any Colour, Images and fancy Design was considered a Distraction from Work – and since Work was your Way to Salvation it was therefore a Distraction from God.
It is no Surprise that the new industrial Style was as much driven by Protestant Culture – which also served as a Foundation of Anglo-Saxon Style Capitalism.Design for Symbols of Imperialism and Design of everyday Consumerism
The Author also confuses the imperial Architecture of Post-Colonialist Europe with the industrial Production of Consumer Goods.
Big official and public Building where always an Expression of their Time, Power and higher Ideals of it’s Financiers. Even modern Building like the Empire State Building is inside and outside not purist in Term of “functional Authenticity”.
Everyday Consumer Goods were already made pretty simple, because the Lower-Classes couldn’t afford “fancy Stuff”.
So ornamental Work was always and will always be associated with luxury Items – we see it from Rapper Bling to expensive Cars with wooden Panels.What about Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts and Gothic Revival Movements?
The Author is completely ignoring Art Nouveau and other romantic Movement that argued for a Design and Human Habitat closer to Nature and human Needs – ESPECIALLY as an Reaction to the new cold Industrial Society.
For me the original Masters of Flat Design where the Egyptians. They already used “Dimensions” for Portrait Paintings (some are still preserved in the great Exhibition in Cairo), but their overall Design was flat and most of all highly abstract. Even most Caveman Paintings are flat and to some Degree abstract.
So Art or our Depiction of Reality didn’t start out “authentic” (or better say realistic), but as Abstractions. This is already a great Achievement as a Concept and a Skill.What about Ergonomics?
He completely looses it by equating naked industrial Design as the best Way to make Objects – completely ignoring that all good modern Design is moving away from the Obsession of the right Angle and cold Materials:“Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.”
The so called Beauty of the Form is a mental Masturbation on the Purity of using mathematical Shapes for Humans – which resulted in Objects that looked cool, but where not perfectly suited for Human Interaction.
One simply needs to look at the Evolution of the Mouse as an Input Device to see what I mean. The Mouse literally started it’s Evolution as a Box and evolved into a curvy Device that follows the Shape of the human Hand and not the cold and mathematical Obsession of industrial Objects.
I also like to throw in that a lot of Ergonomic and so called modern Design was influenced by Weapon Systems and their Drive for absolute Efficiency.
The industrial Overcapacities in the US after WWI lead to the Invention of Consumerism and the modern Pestilence of Marketing ("Buy new Shit you don’t really need!!!").
Design became as much Search for Excellence by building better Products, but also visual Distinction and Identification for the targeted Consumer Groups. Design became often the Whore of Marketing and no “pure” Functionality. Even so called Design Classics are more unique in their visual Appeal than their functional Purity …UX & Software Design
As someone who has worked over 24 Years in Design and Software I will refrain from poking more Holes in the Rest of this “Article”.Article: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2013/07/16/authentic-design/#ux #userexperience #uxarticle #ui #gui #interface #flatdesign