pierreguyot answered: Interesting, but I don’t really agree with the role of execution : a good design should work even if poorly executed (e.g. Final Fantasy VII)
I would argue FF7 is extremely well executed! In fact, if there is one thing Squeenix excels at, it’s quality of execution over idea- so I think maybe my vocabulary wasn’t very clear.
Nomura’s designs don’t exactly plumb the depths of the human condition, but when you look at the games in a similar genre from that era especially, if there is one thing that set Final Fantasy apart execution was it.
There are many cases where a product has a powerful idea, but is poorly executed. A product’s success is not a metric for the quality of it’s design- it’s successful in spite of it’s design, not because of it. A superior execution (that worked in unison with the idea) would have only moved it even further into the realm of mastery.
That’s my counter argument, at least! I don’t want to appear defensive, but I feel execution is actually what’s almost always the problem with “design”. People are unable to express subtle visual ideas to augment emotional ideas, so they go with something less expressive which dilutes the quality or power of the design.
A design is a set of artistic decisions to visually communicate specific ideas about a subject.
It is not the quantity of decisions that is important, but rather the strength of their execution and in their emphasis in relation to each other and the whole- the whole object, the whole scene, the whole story, the whole world.
Execution (solid foundations- anatomy perspective, etc.) is extremely important to good design. Idea and execution can only be so good on their own- it’s the marriage of the two that creates a compelling “design”, for this definition.
(My personal artsy shorthand for this is “intention”. Be intentional.)
I know there are a million definitions for design, and there are probably scores of books I’ve never read that are way better at articulating it than I am- I probably have mentioned it before, but the question “what is (good) design” was something nobody in school could answer. I’m still trying to boil it down in a way that is not only useful for me- but useful for less experienced artists searching for a foothold on the sheer cliff we think of as design.
Replies/feedback are encouraged- I want to know if this helps or if it’s completely nonsensical and stupid. Discussion is healthy, and helps us all learn :D
I hope this doesn’t come off as extremely pretentious, too- speaking with Paul Richards a lot lately has me on a “theory” kick, and I recently spoke to a classroom of aspiring concept artists and realized how bad I am at communicating the depth of something like this question.
When you are making a mark on the page, make sure you are saying something. Even if you aren’t good enough yet to articulate it perfectly, a mark that is made with an intention is better than a mark with none.