Aspects of Design. Functionality. Aesthetics. Factors Determining Appropriateness of Design

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1 Functionality Aspects of Design Functionality is the ability of a design to meet its product's operational criteria. It must do its intended job. If the piece is a chair, it has to hold your backside off the ground. If it s a table, you must be able to sit at it, and you must be able to lie in a bed. Some designs may have several functions. The main function termed the primary function and the other functions the secondary functions which may include safety, strength, ease of use, efficiency, simplicity, durability etc. When designing and manufacturing passenger restraints for cars, for example, the colour, texture and shape of a restraint are of little importance if the restraint does not adequately protect the passengers. Commercial product design often has a strong emphasis on functional efficiency that places aesthetics behind the qualities of easy, reliable operation. However, in the majority of consumer products, aesthetic qualities and image drive the market, often at the expense of function. Aesthetics Design is concerned largely with functional efficiency and a great deal of effort goes into ensuring reliability and ease of operation, which are key components of any solution. However, in most consumer products, it is the visual or aesthetic qualities and image of a particular design that influence our preference. Aesthetics is concerned with 'beauty' and there are no fixed rules on what defines beauty or makes something attractive. Whether you find an item attractive or not can depend on factors such as your age, cultural background or peer group. These continually changing ideas about appearance are broadly described as a sense of fashion. Factors such as shape, colour, texture, proportion and pattern combine to create an overall image or style. Different styles appeal to different tastes and are suited to different environments. Factors Determining Appropriateness of Design Economics Economic issues affect the purchasing and spending power of individuals, communities and nations. Designers need to consider the economic circumstances of their target market and whether they have the capacity to purchase a product or require a product made to a certain price. Boom periods are times of high employment and strong economic growth; consumers are more likely to purchase goods during these times than they are in recessions. The nature of products purchased also mirrors the

2 economic cycle, with housing and survival needs gaining ascendancy over luxury products in times of economic downturn. Environment In recent years management of our natural resources has become a core issue for any designer, engineer or manufacturer. The current raft of issues constantly discussed by politicians, environmental groups and individuals includes air and water quality, massive waste disposal issues, depletion of the ozone layer, extinction of species and the greenhouse effect. Four environmental trends have long-term implications for designers and manufacturers: A shortage of renewable and non-renewable raw materials Spiralling energy costs Toxicity levels in the environment caused by long-term and compounding build-up of substances that do not readily decompose Higher levels of government resource management. The world is currently looking to sustainable manufacturing technologies and materials as a solution to these and other issues. Manufacturing techniques Also termed ``design modeling,'' this is another step in ``reality design.'' Often, a so-called ``finished'' design is impractical to manufacture. Setup costs, consistency with existing manufacturing methods, or excessive complexity may preclude the consideration of an otherwise good design, causing that design to be modified. Sustainability Sustainable design is the philosophy of designing physical objects, the built environment and services to comply with the principles of economic, social, and ecological sustainability. The intention of sustainable design is to "eliminate negative environmental impact completely through skillful, sensitive design". Manifestations of sustainable designs require no non-renewable resources, impact on the environment minimally, and relate people with the natural environment.

3 Principles of sustainable design While the practical application varies among disciplines, some common principles are as follows: Low-impact materials: choose non-toxic, sustainably-produced or recycled materials which require little energy to process Energy efficiency: use manufacturing processes and produce products which require less energy Quality and durability: longer-lasting and better-functioning products will have to be replaced less frequently, reducing the impacts of producing replacements Design for reuse and recycling: "Products, processes, and systems should be designed for performance in a commercial 'afterlife'. Stainless Steel Table with FSC Teca Wood - Brazil sustainable design. Stainless is 100% recyclable and teca wood comes from environmental friendly reforestation in Brazil (Teak plantations) Decoration Decoration can be added to a design to change aspects of the design. In furniture design a moulding may highlight a piece of furniture; a routed edge may soften the piece. Anthropometrics and ergonomics Anthropometry refers to the measurement of the human individual for the purposes of understanding human physical variation.

4 Ergonomics Ergonomics is essentially about "fitting work to people". It's the process of designing or arranging workplaces, products and systems so that they fit the people who use them. Ergonomists use the data and techniques of several disciplines: anthropometry: body sizes, shapes; populations and variations biomechanics: muscles, levers, forces, strength environmental physics: noise, light, heat, cold, radiation, vibration body systems: hearing, vision, sensations applied psychology: skill, learning, errors, differences social psychology: groups, communication, learning, behaviours. Ergonomists need a mature and sensitive ability to listen, and to consult carefully with the people who may have to use the system or product being developed or changed. They work at the different interfaces where the user contacts the product or system - physically, mentally, or otherwise. The aim of ergonomics is to develop a comfortable, safe (and thus, a productive) work system, by bringing human factors thinking and data into the plan. This means including consideration of specific human abilities (and limits) in the design process. These can mean body size, strength, skill, speed, sensory abilities (vision, hearing, etc), even attitudes. Further reading: ics.htm

5 Material Suitability and Selection The suitability of a material for a project is governed by many factors such as its function, location, amount of use etc. To determine the suitability of a material, tests may need to be carried out. Some of the properties that may be tested are hardness, durability, strength, elasticity, ductility, corrosion resistance, ease of machining, electrical conductivity, wear resistance, effects of sunlight, reactions to chemicals etc. Selecting the appropriate material for a task is becoming a more complex process. There is any number of natural and synthetic materials available to the designer. There is a vast range of timber, metal, plastic, textile, ceramic and other materials to choose from. Making the right decision is not just a case of identifying a material with suitable properties. A number of other considerations come into play: cost availability health and safety issues equipment and expertise available energy usage in sourcing, processing and production waste products both short-term and long-term ecological sustainability durability of the end product compatibility with other products

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