How can we use the principles of design in our daily lives and creative endeavors? Can being aware of these principles help us make judgments and decisions about our surroundings?

Expert Answers
jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the principles of modern design and architecture is that "form follows function." This saying means that things should be designed in a way that answers to the need at hand rather than just being decorative. An object's function should determine its design. This principle can be used in our daily lives because we can design our lives to fulfill the needed tasks and eschew useless decoration. In other words, beauty comes from fulfilling needs.

We can use these principles to make judgments about our surroundings because we can choose objects in our lives that fulfill our needs. For example, rather than cluttering our environment with useless or uncomfortable chairs, we can choose a chair that is sculpted to our body and that helps us complete tasks in an efficient and ergonomic manner. Another example is living in ways that are adapted to our environment. For example, growing a lawn in the dry parts of the American West may not be as environmentally friendly as growing native grasses that don't require a great deal of water. In this way, the idea of "form follows function" can also segue into environmental design. 

Symmetry and balance are also essential to architecture and designing industrial objects and furniture. In design, symmetry refers to arranging objects in the same manner on both sides of an axis to create a pleasing design. By applying the principle of symmetry and balance to our daily lives, we'll be more psychologically healthy by, for example, balancing work and play. Balance is as critical to daily life as it is to good design.