A Deep Thought In A Cartoon

by Don Friedman on October 5, 2016

Monday’s XKCD talks about industrial design, but the same argument could be made about any form of design. Industrial designers, architects, graphic designers, structural engineers…we suffer over details that no one ever thinks about and our reward if we do it well is that our work is invisible.

Obviously not all design is invisible. The big items are there to be seen: the shade on a Luxo lamp, the stegosaurus / bird of the WTC PATH station, even the wind-bracing on WTC 3. But design isn’t just the big items. Design includes all of the details required to actually build something, all of the details required to meet regulations, and all of the details that make the whole worthwhile. Structural engineers, whose work is usually hidden within architectural finishes are, perhaps, more comfortable than others with the idea the good design means invisibility, but I never look at someone else’s project without the thought “people labored to create this” crossing my mind.

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