Beauty by Kant and What Designers can Learn From It.
Beauty is hard to locate. Is subjective and objective.
Who was Immanuel Kant?
Immanuel Kant, a modern philosopher from the XVIII century believed that beauty is important, and that was actually the cornerstone of his entire philosophy based on politics and ethic. For Kant, beauty is a democratic way of compelling us to be better, take us out of our narrow selfish concerns in a charming way. Beauty reminds us of our better selves. And unlike so many things in life, a love for beauty is disinterested.
That's when it get far way from us, designers. For Kant, beauty should not have utility or a purpose. For example, flowers are beautiful just because they are flowers. And everyone can see their beauty: a farmer, a prince, a child or even a professor.
But I don't believe we should draw such a strict line. We can have both. We may even need both.
Design is about forms, balance, harmony, and has a sense of truth and dignity in the same way that Kant describes beauty.
When you are able to design and perfectly wrap it in elegance, there's seem to be an ethical dimension that arises out of the editing process and creates a life of its own.
We, as designers, usually have a purpose in our work. It may be selling a product or just to have your audience to click in a button, or watch a video. But when we only emphasise function we may have disastrous effects.
For an example, there are many residential buildings that are hideous outside but perfectly functional for living. You might not want to live in this building.
The same liveable function could be wrap up on a beautiful design, that creates value, sense of harmony and joy. This building could even be preserved in the future as part of history, so many can admire it.
When you see a design that's balanced and harmonious you can recognise. It creates value.
So, we designers, can have a purpose of course. But we should always remember how to bring a certain "disinterested beauty", the beauty for beauty, so we can create better experiences.
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