Why talk about form?

So this semester one word that is constantly being said relatively and that is form, until now its hadly been talked about but why is it so important?

Reading this paragraph from coroflot about portfolios answered the need to communicate well, as we have all fluked a great form once at least when starting out, the gut feeling kicks in and you just stick with it. Though to really understand you need to know the answers to a few questions…

“Entry and mid level designers need to demonstrate their mastery of the fundamentals of form. Telling me you have an intuitive sense of how to resolve form is not good enough — it tells me your technique is hit or miss at best. It is important to be able to articulate how you know when something looks good, well resolved and/or how you made a form decision. Throughout the design process designs are always in flux, and in need of new directions, development, refinement, etc. Designers need to be able to articulate why and how something needs to be changed.”

I understand the need of articulating form as something looks pleasing for a reason and can work in a certain environment or situation. So what is the aim of form studies? Developing different forms which are quite different and unique from each other (this is best done in 3D forms as curves can often alter and distort) gives you something to talk about and compare. How does it sit on the ground how big is it where do you put your hands, having a complete visual  representation will get you asking these questions as a great sketch or drawing is  often deceptive. If you limit your self to the one form that is similar through out you are also not giving yourself the best opportunity to answer these questions.

Understanding why something looks bad is equally as important as sometimes it can make this just plain awkward to use  and interact with. If a form looks good visually it will bring in interest and get the people over but the form also must deliver the results and expectations.  There is a secret language of where to place ones hand, where to find the switch, button, lever how to operate if a form blurs or hinders this to much it just creates frustration and people see some fancy sculpture that looks nice and has no functional purpose.

This is another important piece from the same article…

“Show me you can think. Recent grads have trouble talking about their work, their process and how they think. I’m interested in how you solve design problems and how you demonstrate your thinking. I want to see how you connect the dots and how this leads you to a solution. When discussing your design projects, be sure to illustrate your ability to:

a. Define the problem: for every project clearly state the objective and how you set up the design problem

b. Learn and be insightful: Show me how you gather, analyze and synthesize information; how you identify opportunities and insights that inspire your work. Did you research users, their behaviors, perceptions, motivations, interactions, the social cultural context, competitive context, emerging technologies, inspiring and relevant objects? How did you develop your point of view?

c. Create a great design solution: We want to see your ability to create forms, iterate, test, learn and refine until you’ve found an answer that is compelling and resolved.

d. Utilize the right design tools: Sketching, model making, CAD

e. Communicate your results: Don’t just tell me its good, show me why. Show me how you solved the problem, and how your design connects back to your insights. Your ability to demonstrate this is the cost of entry, don’t mess this up.”

We are in the stage of the design solution, we have all found our problem, researched it and possible solutions, we are in the form exportation stage testing, learning, refining using different tools to get there, models, CAD, drawing to test the forms. If we can all master this process and define the stages where we struggle, need more inspiration, use certain tools to explore form and achieve results, the extras that are related (clearly defining the users, market place, current market gaps, the manufacturing) we will have a final piece that will speak for itself as all areas are resolved.

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