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?

Principles of design, which revolve around such concepts as form follows function and avoiding the decorative in favor of the essential, can help us organize our lives and creative endeavors to focus on the essential rather than the trivial.

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Designers like William Morris, who believed there was an intimate connection between design and living, can help offer guidance through design in how to think about life.

For example, he believed that people should abandon much of the factory-produced and often cluttered excess of the Victorian era and embrace instead...

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Designers like William Morris, who believed there was an intimate connection between design and living, can help offer guidance through design in how to think about life.

For example, he believed that people should abandon much of the factory-produced and often cluttered excess of the Victorian era and embrace instead a simpler, more stream-lined aesthetic. This was not simply art for art's sake but embodied a way of life. He believed living in more simply designed structures with more functional but still beautiful furniture and art would help people live simpler, more functional lives.

Getting rid of the merely decorative to expose the core lines of designs, a central principle of all the arts, can encourage people to live more from our core and find what is important in life as well as art.

If we know we want to be living like Morris, amid simple but high quality hand crafted goods, this can help us organize our budgets to achieve this goal. Knowing that the principles of good design revolve around simple lines and essentials helps us use this technique in our creative work. When writing a paper, for example, it can help us stay focused on the main point, rather wandering off into digressions.

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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. 

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