Design is a Function of Infinity


When does design end and use begin? Is there a definitive beginning and end to the process of design, and does design concern itself with the solving of problems, that is, working within a specific problem set, defining the end goals and working toward those within a closed system?

No. Obviously not.

Nothing in design is ever straightforward. Design is a function of infinity. It never begins, and it never ends. It exists as a fluid system where ideas come and go, where they are moulded by ideologies and philosophies, in the hope that the present iteration may benefit society in some way.

As a function of infinity, there is no definitive solution that will solve all problems, or that will please everyone. And there is no designed solution that will be perfect, by the very fact that design is a human construct, and we are a notoriously imperfect species. Thus lies one of the age-old challenges of any design discipline: how can value be attached to something that is so vague, to a service that has no concrete end to it? The key would, most likely, be in attaching value to the process, that is, educating clients and endusers on the value in collaboration, in the techniques and tools required to sculpt a formless idea into the tangible object that exists in the material world.

And at the other end of the spectrum, of course, is that feeling every designer has: the endless possibilities of a blank page, akin to the infinity of our Universe. Everything is possible, with the only constraint being the designer’s imagination (itself a function of infinity).

Infinity itself looks flat and uninteresting. Looking up into the night sky is looking into infinity—distance is incomprehensible and therefore meaningless. The chamber into which the aircar emerged was anything but infinite, it was just very very very big, so big that it gave the impression of infinity far better than infinity itself.

–Douglas Adams


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