An Age of Aesthetics

“The reality is that graphic design is a profession wholly in thrall to its own visions of formal beauty. Beauty is the single quality designers most value and crave” – Rick Poynor


As Jeffery Keedy said, we are living in an ‘age of aesthetics’, and as designers it is inherently within our nature to create things of beauty. But is this strive for aesthetic perfection stifling our chances of creating functional – and more importantly valuable – design? If a designer loses sight of the true purpose of design – which is to solve a predetermined problem – and instead aims solely on producing beautiful creations, with no consideration given to purpose or functionality, can they add value?

When we think about art and design, the only differentiating factor between them is the intent.

The eternal struggle between art and design always comes back to the idea of form and function. Art has always been intended to portray its’ creators idea of beauty, and design – for the most part – has always been centred around the idea of purpose and function. The process of design itself involves intentional thought towards purpose and function, regardless of the way in which something finally comes to look. You can read more about this topic here.

“Functionalism can be seen as inherent in the definition of design itself; a series of actions taken to produce a desired effect” – Lorraine Wild

Design can be beautiful. And valuable. And functional.

It can be all of these simultaneously. But effective and valuable design can only be achieved when the right questions are asked – and that’s where the five w’s come in. Who, what, where, when, and why (but not necessarily in that order).

Who – are the target audience, and what do they want/need?
What – do we need to do, and what outcomes are needed?
Where – will it be seen, and in what form?
When – does it need to be done, and for how long will it last?
Why – is this project being done, and – arguably most importantly of all – for what purpose?

Now you may be thinking ‘what about how’…

That’s where Wonderstuff come in.

Wonderstuff ask all of these questions, along with a multitude of others, and that’s why we stand by the work we have done – confident in knowing we have added real value to everything we have been a part of. Not only that, but knowing that we have made beautiful design too. Have a look at our work for yourself. Drop us an email at to talk about how we can add value to your projects today.