Design is a thinking process, which ultimately gives an end product in the form of an object or a product. Design plays a critical role in the manipulation and creation of space, form, materials and technology to solve complex problems, that people can understand and enjoy. A designer, designs a product, which has a particular form, shape and size. Color, texture, aesthetic appearance is imparted by the material. Use of specific material, to make that product attractive, safe and easy to handle with different finishes is done. In brief materials exert a profound influence on the form of products.
Materials are one of the key elements of a manufacturing system and give a form to a particular product. But the selection of a proper material has always been a difficult task since it requires experience as the variety of materials available is constantly increasing. Engineering materials differ widely in physical properties, methods of forming and possible service life. The designer should consider all these facts in selecting an economical material and a process that is best suited to the product.
Materials have an intense influence on products, through which they can be identified. No where is this more visible than in Architecture . The Parthenon, the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, all great symbols of their age, are unique expressions of what is possible with a particular material. An Eiffel Tower made from stone is as inconceivable as a Parthenon made from wrought iron or a Golden Gate Bridge made of reinforced concrete.
The statement of Alder and Louis Sullivan:
‘Form Follows Function’!! is refined to’ Form Follows Material too’!!
Function means the task an object (product) is designed to fulfill, the task instrumental in shaping the form. Man has used the functional suggestions of nature innumerable times. Utensils, appliances, containers, tools are based upon his observation of nature. In designing for human consumption, function is not only a demand for a limited mechanical task, function also includes the fulfillment of biological, psychological and sociological requirements. Thus, materials come into picture, which guides the design and technology.
Form is taken into account. From radios to cars to toothbrushes, we’re all bowled over by style. Is there any contribution of material to this notion? Indeed it is. Material makes the product catchy to eyes and thereby solving the purpose. Material gives different avenues to a designer to work upon. Thus, a design is composed of form, function, consumer usage, aesthetics and business. Selection of a particular material should satisfy all these aspects of design.The bottom line of any designed product is, it should be able to generate income, bring in business and be relevant to the consumer aimed at. Its an exploration of an idea and ability to understand people and their needs.
Design is not just about aesthetics, its a serious planning of a designer in creating a product which appeals to the consumer in functionality and cost too. Design and selection of particular material go hand in hand for a product or a building.