Material, by Design

by Charles Mouyat

My career as a designer is not an accident. It is absolutely, by design. For as long as I can remember, I have been motivated, fixated, inspired by the beauty and drama of aesthetic virtue put to work to generate value. Great design is never an accident. It is the product of focus and determination to disseminate meaning from archetype and construct order from chaos.

I’ve no doubt this sounds pompous and grand, and while I don’t mind a little pomp and celebration, there is no pretence here. The truth remains true, indeed it remains elemental. Despite fashion trends elevating the mundane and scoffing at cultural canons (as if tradition has no place informing the future), the things that have always turned me on, are the things that have always resonated with classic ideals of aesthetic beauty. Those hallowed things are symmetry, proportion and harmony. The Greeks called this confluence of valued property “the Golden Mean”, and when I say elemental, I am referring to gold.

While freshness demands the introduction of new ideas and influences, the evolution of meaning depends on attachment to what has come before. Call it tradition, legacy, or even yesterday’s news—but in my opinion—the “new” does not resonate without the “old” to ground or inform it. I often speak of chaos as being a necessary ingredient for generating interest. The introduction of the “unknown” is an essential spice in the creation of something fresh and worthwhile.

In the end, it comes down to balance which is an essential element required for stability and growth. A professional creator will split the difference between exploring new vistas with relish, and bringing it home to live in the comfortable space in which society routinely functions.

When designs become established they generate goodwill, as a measure of their worth. Totems and glyphs arise in the mind of the observer and become avatars of that “thing” by nothing more than association. Virtual virtue ascribed to a cheap t-shirt by the addition a brand logo will push the price of that cotton rag up, up and up. Why? — Because design matters!

Value is not an accident, it exists by design. Value is ascribed to things that have been fashioned out of emptiness to become fullness.

Logos and brands rule as totems of value. By design, they hold intangible virtues to become the prized embodiment of material value—and that is despite those virtues remaining immaterial.

In essence, designers are like alchemists, using base material to conjure value by generating something from nothing. Indeed, the success of a professional designer depends on their ability to spin straw into gold, on demand. At Studio Nero, we manage to do it with panache!

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