What is Design?

Reading at the start of the lesson:

We were asked to read a bit of the chapter ‘What is good design?’ from our reading list on Blackboard. I only got up to page four then we stopped to discuss what we had read which lead us into the lesson.


  • William Morris
    • Part of the arts and crafts movement
    • References guns

*Style over content*

I mind mapped what I thought design meant and some from the class discussion:

Design mind map

“If a chair…is not functional, if it appears to be only art, it is ridiculous” ~ Donald Judd

Purpose of a chair?

  • The Fault In Our Stars:
    • Her top, the idea behind that
    • That the top is a drawing of the object and not actually the object

Walking Activity:

For self-directed work, I had to visit a nearby building and explore what is good design of the building. We had to look at the exterior, entrance, interior space, furniture and signage of the building.

I decided to go for the Showroom Cinema as I have never been before and it was a chance to have a look around.


I found the exterior very minimal as it was simple and straight to the point with standard font signage for the customer to see the name and other facilities. I found the actually name of the building was designed bad as it was not lit up like the others words. The simple exterior stands out against the nature around the front of the building:



The entrance was bold but simple with black boarders around the glass with both standard doors and wheelchair accessible automatic doors. The design of the doors is a simple grid effect that goes with the design of the building. I found the angle of the door handles were designed bad as they are a weird shape to grab and open a door with. There is plenty of signage on the doors as well stating the times it is open and closed however the font is very small:


Exterior signage:

By the side of the entrance, they had the times for the films so customers can see what is on which is practical positioning. The timetable is positioned at the bottom of the board, which is bad design as you would have to bend down to see the times. It should be positioned eye level so the customer can see it better:


Interior signage:

This is how the sign for the building should look on the outside so people can see what the places is named more easily. This can be seen well at night-time as the red shines through the glass entrance. The lighted up signage makes the viewer look at the words as it is eye level plus, it has a design behind it made of mirror to reflect:

Indoor Signage

Interior cinema reception:

There is plenty of signage in this area so people can find their way around this interior clearly. There is a built-in bench on the right of the image, which is good as it acts as a place to sit down and wait for other friends to turn up and does not take up too much room. The colours are bright and mainly pink which is associated with a feminine colour scheme which in my opinion, is bad design as male customers may feel uncomfortable with the colour choice:

Cinema reception interior

Interior bar:

The interior of the bar area is well furnished for the function of the room with plenty of space to walk in between tables and chairs. It is well-lit with bulbs dotted all around the space.

The signage is designed bad in the bar as the colour blends in with the wall too much and is reflective so customers may find it hard to read. The colours in this room are more unisex and work better for this environment which at night will turn into a more atmospheric place with younger customers which the interior appeals to:

Bar interior


Here is some examples of seating used in the bar, they used a variation of styles of stools however both materials are worn. The wooden chair has a hint of a back, so customers can have support of their back when sitting on this chair. Where as the silver chair does not have a back. The silver chair is could be seen as designed bad as it has no support for the customer to get onto the chair which could be an issue for all ages.



I learned more about the idea of design and how everything you look at can have both good and bad design. It has made me look at everything in a new light and criticise or applaud design of a building or object.



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