Functional Design

The internet has done a great job of showing the world the endless possibilities of every facet of design that you can possibly fathom. Actually, I believe that the recent explosion in variety of design concepts has been fostered by the internet. By this I mean that now designers can easily see what other artists and designers are doing. This isn’t only helpful for people who want to emulate others. It’s also extremely stimulating and inspiring to see the level at which your peers are operating.

How Is Functional Trendy?

The ‘Functional Design’ trend really isn’t a trend at all. This is the way that designers have been creating products all along! However, in a time where all types of design concepts are being explored (some more functional than others), there has been a yearning to create things that are more immediately useful to the end user. Functional design focuses on simplifying the overall structure of products. It demands that every piece or component has only one responsibility. This simplifies the design process, especially when working together with a team of professionals to create a single end product. You have to admire this design concept if not only for its conciseness.

Consider The Goal

There are a few key concepts to consider when designing within the ‘functional design’ framework. The first being the end goal of the product. The design of the average claw hammer is a good example. When you first look at the product, it’s very self explanatory. Not only as far as what the goal of the tool is, but also in the method of use. The claw hammer is such a simple and obvious design it’s actually become a symbol of construction work itself. If you were to see an icon with a hammer on it, you would understand that it has something to do with construction or building of some kind.

Basic Claw Hammer
Credit: WtTool.com

Think About the User

One of the chief concerns when creating any product is the end user. How will they be using it, where will they be using it, and most importantly who are they? Those are all very important questions that you have to be able to answer before you even get started with the design process. One of the objectives in product design is the ability for someone to pick up your product and be able to use it immediately, without reading instructions or doing any other research of their own. It’s obvious that sometimes users will need to read the instructions for safety reasons, but this doesn’t change the fact that many of the best products inspire even novices in the respective field to be able to ‘grab and go’. These same design principles apply not only to physical products but to the world of web design as well. We can all appreciate a website that makes what you’re supposed to do next very apparent. SuitSupply’s site does a great job of this. It’s very clear the moves that you’re supposed to make. This is a good example of catering to the specific user group that will be using the site while avoiding anything that’s unnecessarily complicated.

Suit Supply Website
Credit: SuitSupply.com

Don’t Forget the Feedback!

One of the most essential aspects to good user design is timely feedback. I was reading an article on another site that brought up the old days of the internet. Remember those? How about on an eCommerce site when they would warn you to only press the purchase button once or risk duplicating your order? That’s an example of poor feedback. Your product needs to be able to communicate with the user whether or not it’s working (or if there’s a problem as quickly as possible.) Some products are more effective at this than others, if not only due to the nature of the product itself. I have an uncle that works as a semi truck driver out in upstate New York. One of the biggest problems that they have in their business is keeping their trucks clean. Not only does a dirty truck look bad, but it takes time out of their schedules and money out of their pockets to clean them. This is why covering their wheels with semi truck fenders is so helpful to them. That is a perfect example of product feedback. It’s easy for the drivers to see if their fenders are working because they will notice how long it’s taking for their trucks to get dirty. If their truck is getting covered in road spray they will know that something isn’t right and needs to be adjusted.

Semi Truck
Credit: RedRockCollisionRepair.com

What Happens When There’s A Problem?

One of the final, yet most important, considerations that go along with functional design is problem resolution. How frustrating is it to the user when something goes wrong? A good example of the proper way to handle errors, at least in the web design field, is a website that offers a good ‘404’ page. A 404 page shows up when you arrive a web page that doesn’t exist on the domain. A good 404 page will acknowledge that something has gone wrong as well as offer a good suggestion on what to do next. My personal favorite 404 page is from AirBnB. Their page offers a funny animation of a girl who suddenly loses the ice cream from her cone. More importantly than the entertaining animation is that the page offers to redirect you to some of their most helpful pages. This ensures that there aren’t any “dead ends” on the site. That means that even if you end up in a broken link chain somehow, you will be funneled back into the site in a sensical manner.

AirBnB 404 Page
Credit: AirBnB.com

What does functional design mean to you? Do you have any example of great functional design that I may have missed or any aspects that I failed to cover?

Welcome to the Wallpaper Vault

I’m happy to you’ve found my website. If you’re here, that must mean that you know a thing or two about good design. Or maybe you don’t. (It’s okay if you’re a beginner to the whole design world.) No matter if you’re seasoned design expert or if you just appreciate some fresh new design eye-candy – then you’ve come to the right website.

I will try to my best to keep this site updated with the latest and greatest trends coming from many different places in the design world. If you’ve used Wallpaper Vault in the past, then you know that the site used to be all about desktop wallpapers. I have decided to shift the focus of the website to a more broad design focus because people just don’t take the time to enjoy desktop wallpapers like they used to. Maybe it’s because they’re so busy watching YouTube videos or working to even get a moment to gaze at their desktop screen in the first place!

It certainly isn’t my job to speculate on the reasons that desktop wallpapers aren’t as popular as they used to be. I’m not the type of person that will get upset over such things. Instead of crying about no one wanting my desktop wallpapers anymore – I have pivoted to something that I like much more! In addition to nice looking desktop wallpapers, I will be sharing my thoughts on a curated collection of my favorite designs. Some of the design inspiration that I post may be images that I have taken myself while out and about. The designs that I cover in my posts may also be from interesting images or videos that I have found while exploring the internet, looking for careful design that really gets my brain going!

Before I get into my regular posting, I imagined that it would be pleasant to cover a couple of the different types of design that I will looking into with my site visitors:

Architectural Design

Building design has always been inspiring to me. I supposed you could say that I’m inspired by functional design in general. Art is lovely and most people surely appreciate it. But, there’s something to behold about an object that not only looks nice, aesthetically, but is useful to the souls that come into contact with it.

Rustic Tiny Home Design
Credit: TinyHouseTown.net

When it comes to useful design, there is a new trend that I have found myself to be obsessing over in recent months. The tiny house movement is sustainable and down right enchanting! I’m enamored with tiny houses because of the great deal of careful thought and planning that needs to go into the design of every square inch. When you have such a limited amount of space, the designer needs to be painfully aware of how the entirety of the space will work together (with all of the necessary elements that a home must incorporate, of course.) I will be focusing a lot on the “tiny house movement” in the upcoming posts. In fact, if you’re a tiny house hater, then you might be best served to click away from my little website right now. (Only kidding.)

Fashion and Textile Design

Similar to the functional requirement that building design has, clothing also presents a strong demand for the functional. Clothing not only has to look nice, but it has to protect the wearer from the elements. Saying that clothing has to look nice is of course a gross oversimplification. Clothing is more than just a random aesthetic impulse from the user. It actually works as a communication device, of sorts. The types of clothing that a person chooses to wear sends a message to their friends, family, and the rest of the world that has the privilege to feast their eyes.

Stylish Leather Boots and Jacket
Credit: Notey.com

They say that you can gather a lot of information about a person from the types of clothing that they wear. I myself find that clothing is a good indicator of not only a persons social status, but also gives many clues on the approachability of a person. While a strangers clothing may be sending subliminal messages, it’s important to not judge too hastily (which I’m sure that you’re already aware of.)

I will be taking a lot of time to meticulously dissect fashion in a very visual sense. Meaning that I won’t spend too much time on the actual materials being used to produce the end product – but with more of an effort to try and gather the meaning of the message that clothing is sending. What type of emotion is the wearer of a leather jacket seemingly trying to convey? (for example.)

More Design, More Love

This is only a very small subsection of what I will be covering here in my blog. I know that people will bring to my attention that this is supposed to be all about WALLPAPER (hence the name, duh…). I do reserve the right to cover whatever I find my wavering interest settling on. Stay tuned, design fans, there will be plenty for you to feast your eyes on!