DESIGN is not ART is not BEAUTY

… but what of creativity, inspiration, and ideas?

Beauty is a thing of wonder and amazement, a priori.

Art is a purposeful exposition to provoke thought or emotion.

Design is intentional organization and conveyance of information, processes, or material objects meant to produce a specific outcome, usually positive.

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Some would offer that in capital D design, ‘form should follow function’, but the reality is that function must give way to context. Then, if form follows context, we are left with finding fault and fixing problems with incremental improvement or consistent iteration — When we make design “better”, it is only in this limited context. A context that is both situational and social. We cannot fully see or chart a path for best fit or best use, because of this meandering guesswork. We really only know for certain that we make something different. And then, by common acceptance, it will be determined if, in this time and place, it is a little more useful.

Perhaps this is all we can hope for — if we continue to forget the circularity of history. It may well be all we are capable, even with a complete paradigmatic shift. If indeed, a new thought is allowed. For in truth, is there really any new idea that are not just morphings and combinations of disparate things.

Under this assumption of complete paradigmatic shift or even by this definition of new idea (…or as it has been implied, the essence of inspiration itself), we always with it bring heavy baggage of the old system or the previous belief. We can only leap from the ground on which we stand. It takes this act to devise a new path or to see the end goal, but it too must be iterated on and found to meander. So in the end, the intention is the first mover; however, it is not only rooted by context, but it to is informed by the individual.

Is this arbitrary path of improvement creativity? This certainly takes the wind out of the sails of inspiration. Thereby, inspiration is only an occasional bedfellow to circumstance and serendipity. If we accept such randomness, we admonish those who would attempt to give accolades for alchemists and magicians. Creativity becomes only an rudimentary process. A process which we can endlessly explore and get lost in. One that we can refine but not perfect. In search of something different. On that we can learn from but never master. In a quest for something better. On that we can steer without knowing the destination. Towards an evolution of best fit.