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Has the line between form and function become blurred?


#1
I'm a student from Lincoln University studying product design in my first year, our presentation group are disscussing whether the line between form and function has become blurred. We were always taught as young designers that there was a defined difference between the form of a product and the function. However, as time has gone on has this distinction become less and less obvious. Has anyone got any views on this topic?

Cheers Dan
 

Levi

Moderator
Staff member
#2
Poynton53 said:
our presentation group are disscussing
Our views are irrelevant as this is a group presentation about YOUR views.

PS. Don't mean to sound harsh but it's the whole point of the presentation to get your view so the tutors can grade you
 
#3
Hi Dan,

If you would like people to participate please introduce yourself over at the introductions sections then possibly people will answer your questions.
 
#4
Well the idea was to get some views and primary research on people's view not to base our whole presentation round people on this forum really...

Am now on the introduction section, cheers Ben
 

Paul Murray

Moderator
Staff member
#5
I was always taught that form should follow function a la Bauhaus. Looking round now, most of the things I see have a form that follows their function. I can't really think of anything with a blurred line. Do you have an example?
 
#6
Paul Murray said:
I was always taught that form should follow function a la Bauhaus. Looking round now, most of the things I see have a form that follows their function. I can't really think of anything with a blurred line. Do you have an example?
Thanks Paul, yes if you look at the oblique clock by 'science and sons' the function of the product is to look sculptural when the clock is in use. It is a hard clock to read as it is and when not in use does not have beauty, only when the hands turn and the clock moves does it become beautiful...
 

Paul Murray

Moderator
Staff member
#8
The 'clock' seems to be more like a kinetic sculpture that changes over time, rather than a device for actually telling the time (is it even possible to tell the time using it?).

I would argue that its form still follows it's function; its function is to create abstract geometric shapes/compositions which ultimately are its form.
 
#9
I think the boundaries between form follows function becoming blurred can be said about anything that you see where you question whether or not it needs to look that way. Most things won’t be pure functional and they will be blurred with the designers desire or requirement to make the object, product, building (or whatever) look aesthetically pleasing, stand out above the competition or their individual interpretation of what functional is. This means adding something however subtle or not into the design that isn’t totally necessary to it being ‘functional’, but essentially making it look beautiful. I.e are all cars shaped so they are totally aerodynamic? Of course they're not, they are designed to look aesthetically pleasing often more so than being aerodynamic – that is if you interpret being aerodynamic as being functional – obviously there are many other aspects of car design that make a car functional.

Another example is do Apple products really need glossy screens which reflect light and create glare, that actually make them more difficult to use? In my opinion this is actually reversing form follows function somewhat (or blurring it) as its more to make the product look cool rather than function better.

So many designed products/objects can share these principles or small broken rules where form doesn’t 100% follow function so the boundaries blur together. Its everywhere! Feel free to use this and totally own your presentation ha ;)