1 INCITE EMOTIONAL RESPONSE
All humans whether they want to or not have little control over an initial emotional response; it is an automatic response that occurs both subconsciously and unconsciously. Emotion can be felt and experienced without needing to be explained. It is also typically the first response to a reaction of anything, and therefore has the psychological advantage of surprise.
Good design is universal. There are billions of people in the world and good design speaks to all, regardless of language. Road symbols are a great example of a universal design. By functionality they are required to be efficient at being easy and quick to understand, as drivers passing by will only have a moment to assess them.
Humans are also biologically inclined to prefer certain elements over others such as rounded edges or specific colour choices. These are elements that appeal to us on a fundamental level, and by understanding humans in this way, a design shows more intention.
Incorporated within the concept of universality are the principles of inclusivity and ethics. Design should not only be universally accessible but also sensitive to a diverse range of experiences and needs. In this way, good design transcends mere aesthetics—it becomes a catalyst for a more inclusive and understanding world.
3 PLAY ON REALITY
Some see art as a reflection of the world as it is. Others view it as a tool to shape and influence how we perceive the world. It can also be argued that both can coexist, as art both shapes and is shaped by human experience, creating a continuous, reciprocal interaction between art and life. Play on reality therefore fits as an umbrella to this and other related terms, such as: hyperreality (the blending of fiction and reality) and hyperstition (fiction becoming reality).
Playing on reality or worldbuilding your own reality can add layers of substance to what you create. The result is a space for people to become deeply invested and immersed in, leading to a rich and complex tapestry of shared experiences. This depth of engagement breathes life into the art, transforming it into more than a mere object or concept—it becomes a living entity, a reality unto itself.
4 DEEP DESIGN
An iceberg reveals only a small fraction of its mass above the water's surface. Likewise, designing with the aim to maintain value or even provide more under the surface encourages exploration and an ongoing relationship with that design, rewarding curiosity with layers of meaning that go beyond the immediately visible.
Where true genius can shine is via interactive opportunities that are not immediately obvious but can be discovered through interaction. The discovery of these hidden elements can spark joy and surprise, creating a lasting impression and fostering a deeper connection with the design.
5 EVERYTHING IS A STORY
Do not be afraid to create things that are bad or unlikable. What you create will be a collection which people will look upon in the future. Even the bad parts will be included as a display of your development as a designer and be seen as parts to the whole.
Leonardo Da Vinci's earliest works were not comparable to his best, however they were fundamentally important in both his personal development as well as the story of his life. There might have not been a Last Supper or Mona Lisa without the grotesques.
What's most important is the throughline of it all and how it's communicated. No matter how substantial something may be it contains a story, even multiple stories; each with a beginning, middle, and end.
Art in context can be transformative. Art in context can change its entire meaning. In terms of time, place, political climate, or events.
A russian composer was threatened by Stalin to compose a piece happier or he would risk execution. What resulted was a piece that sounded seemingly happy and cheerful, but listening back with that context in mind you realize the frantic and desperate undertones throughout the music.
On a macro scale, your entire life will be contextualized alongside your art. You may not be appreciated today, in 10 years, or in your lifetime. But by creating with your truth, eventually people looking back will understand. Da Vinci and many others like him die believing they're not successful enough or not appreciated enough, only to be later appreciated and regarded as some of the best artists to have ever existed. Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson is a biography of one of the greatest artists and thinkers of humanity and yet the main central story was his life.