Achieving Beauty in Products through Minimalism


Christine Lee

Some people think beauty is about ornaments, such as makeup, clothes, or status, while others think beauty comes from the natural form itself. However could there be a balance between these two sides? In order to explore this question I will be researching about minimalism. Can minimalism be applied to design to achieve a beauty that is on the borderline between ornament and natural beauty?  Then what is ornament and what is natural? What is beauty essentially? By examining the works done by Lauren Redniss and applying the theory to the development of a timer, I’ll investigate what it means to find the middle ground between ornament and natural beauty.

Keywords: minimalism, beauty, product design, ornament, natural

Lauren Redniss’s book, Radioactive, talks about Sadae Kasaoka, a Japanese woman who uses simple paper cutouts to tell her story during the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombing. Her paper cutouts are a great example of what it means to achieve both the ornament and the natural through use of minimalism. Instead of detailed drawings, Ms. Kasaoka uses paper cutouts as her medium, an ornament, to show the bareness of the conditions during the bombing, something natural. Together they illustrate a powerful story that has a sense of beauty to it.

I’m currently developing a timer in my product design concepts class. I’ll be creating a presentation that will showcase this product and demonstrate the timer and how minimalism was applied to it to achieve a balanced beauty. I chose a presentation accompanied with the product because this is usually how product designers showcase their products.

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2 Responses to Achieving Beauty in Products through Minimalism

  1. prunsolee says:

    Christine, I’m sure you will further develop the concept and present it with clearer statements during the final presentation. But what story are you trying to portray through designing and creating a timer? That minimal aesthetic enhances our understanding of using the timer? I believe your design will be much stronger if you search more into its purpose within a context that you are trying to tell.

  2. coops558 says:

    I would have to say as well that context is something that is a little unclear here. I agree that there is always a push and pull between ornament and minimalism.. especially how in many cases form can dictate an objects function. But what will this mean for your object?

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