Web, Print, Architectural, Information, Interior, etc.

I wonder sometimes how comparable good designs in radically different media are. In particular, modern architecture and printing seem to have very similar relations to classical architecture and printing(1) , and several styles of architecture seem (to me at least) to correspond to certain styles of print design. I'd like to know if people with more experience in these fields also notice this.

What is good design?

This, of course, points to the possibility of some general description of good design. ('But surely all these virtues must have some look in common, O Meno!') (2) At the moment, I'm totally at a loss for what this would consist of, but there are definitely some good examples out there. Cleanliness, elegance, and good proportion all play a part.



Summary: Some thoughts on design, graphic and otherwise.

Keywords: design, architecture, printing, web, Edward Tufte, Christopher Alexander, William Morris

See also:

Edward Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

Edward Tufte, Envisioning Information

Edward Tufte, Visual Explanations
These are three of the best books ever written on how to express information clearly and effectively. They are also very beautiful books.

William Morris, The Ideal Book
A collection of his writings on printing. If you ever have to design anything to be printed (which isn't all that rare in the age of desktop publishing) this is well worth reading.

Christopher Alexander, A Pattern Language

David Siegel, Creating Killer Websites
Much of what is wrong with the web today can be traced to this book, and it's pretentious to boot. Still, it's the place to look if you want real control over how your web pages look.

Created: 29 July 1999

Modified: 29 June 2000


1. if something invented in the 15th century can ever really be classical

2. It's a reference to Plato's Meno, if you aren't one for philosophy, and thus don't know. One of the main benefits of a liberal arts education from St. John's College is the ability to drop in random references like that in places where they really aren't very useful, and I, for one, am going to take advantage of this opportunity.