frank lloyd2

My SXSW app said this session would be only 15 minutes long. But the description said the speaker would cover 6 different points on the topic. I naturally assumed there was a typo in the amount of time the session would take. I was wrong. Kent Eisenhuth lived up to his promise and blazed through his presentation. I would have appreciated a more leisurely stroll through the topic. But I’m grateful Kent’s comparison of Frank Lloyd Wright’s design principles to the principles of digital design all the same.

I’m a big fan of FLW. I defy anyone not to appreciate his architecture. Even if you know nothing about architectural design. That’s because FLW’s design principles are based on human values of purpose and harmony. When we look at his work it touches something primal. We intrinsically appreciate its qualities. The same happens with digital design that follows the same principles and is founded on the same values that inspired FLW. The Nest thermostat is a great example Kent gave. It is the perfect synthesis of functionality, purpose, design, and utility.

Here are the five points Kent made in his economical 15 minutes:
#1. Design with a purpose
#2. Leverage existing materials
#3. Combine content, it’s form and the UI
#4. Think holistically first
#5. Create harmony

And here are my notes from the session:

  • Don’t add useless features. Don’t design for the sake of design
  • Design with a purpose
  • Imperial hotel in Japan. The pool served a purpose. A reservoir for firefighters.
  • Think about the materials used in your design.
  • He felt material should exist in its natural state
  • Digital designers materials. Apple watch. Heart monitor. small touchscreen. Taptic engine.
  • Bad apps will be the ones that are created just to be an app.
  • Abusing the screen. It’s a portal.
  • What are the most important spaces.
  • What are the least important spaces.
  • Form followed function.
  • Glass windows maximizes natural light.
  • Content form and ui become one
  • Clear app.
  • Data visualization allows the image and data to combine and become the ui
  • We are already doing this. Visual thesaurus. A holistic view first.
  • Harmony. Falling Water is the perfect example.
  • Bridge the digital world with the visual world
  • Look up his article in smashing magazine.

End of notes.

I wish every session was efficient as this one was. I have a feeling that most of the sessions at SXSW could be boiled down to 15 minutes. But the conference would only be 4 days long instead of 2 weeks. And where would be the fun in that?

I really enjoyed learning something relevant to digital design from FLW, one of my design heroes. My next session is a similar one. I’m hoping to learn something relevant from Andy Warhol. Stay with me.