Aesthetics vs. Function

After some experience studying graphic design while also taking on opportunities to work with some clients as a develop freelancer, I learned that understanding the importance of aesthetics and functionality is a necessity.  In general, designers do not always make everything look nice, pretty, and refined.  We all are responsible for helping the user understand the information they are being presented with as much as possible.


Aesthetics (adjective) is defined as: “concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty” while the noun is defined as: “a set of principles underlying and guiding the work of a particular artist or artistic movement.”  By looking at the adjective’s definition, it is quite self-explanatory because aesthetics deals with the notion of beauty.  Beauty is quite subjective and in design it is important for the product or information to look enticing to the public eye.  Through aesthetics there is a good amount of creativity, individuality, and expressiveness.  In design, we want to be able to pull the viewer closer and take in the information while making them feel ways we want to.  As a designer, we have the power to  set a mood to our work and doing so can help create good design.


Functionality is extremely important in design because design is not solely about making something look pretty.  It is not valuable information if you put random squiggles and having pretty shapes in comfortables places in the space (like you would for a poster or something).  Design requires thought about the purpose of the work itself.  I ask myself questions as I design or do projects in class, “What does this mean and why does this matter to the viewer?” Sometimes the aesthetic qualities are produced after working on the functional aspects of the work too!