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What Is “Good Design”?

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Julie Hertenstein; Marjorie Platt; Robert Veryzer



For some time now there has been an awareness that design--or rather "good design”--is one of if not the major determinant of success in today's competitive marketplace. With the increased ability of manufacturers across the globe to compete on dimensions such as price and quality, the strategic advantage fostered by good design is and will continue to be perhaps the most decisive factor in product success. "Good design,” however, is an open and vague phrase that can mean any number of things, and may vary according to industry, designer, product design context, and so on. Definitions of "design” abound, yet elaborations beyond such definitions to illuminate what good design is or consists of are not so easily found, and it is not clear that good design is amenable to being clearly defined. It is understandable that the idea is rather amorphous, because it is at least sometimes relative to a particular design or product context, as well as bound by constraints imposed by markets, consumer tastes, technology, and design and business objectives. Nevertheless, if insight can be gained into the notion of good design, it would seem to be a worthwhile endeavor, and it could undoubtedly yield research avenues along with practical tools. To the extent that insights into the definition of good design can be gained through a systematic approach that builds in a basis for validity, the utility of such research is heightened...






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