The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products we use everyday affect our person and our well-being but only well-executed objects can be beautiful. - Rams
We should strive for creating aesthetic products as they are more pleasing to the eyes, and good looking products are perceived as more valuable. Aesthetic value is a characteristic that we attribute to products, and we do so using our senses. So we need to be conscious about the big picture and the details of each instrument we create and design.
To know how to create compelling and fully thought out aesthetic designs we need to understand the following concepts, for as basic as they may seem it's how we use and combine them that makes or breaks a design.
Contrast is the state of being strikingly different from something else in juxtaposition or close association. In a row of three black buttons, if we turn one to bright red it will immediately contrast with the others, and in this case gain more importance. We can use contrast to help create a hierarchy of importance of design elements. We can also use contrast of materials to enrich the user experience, both for the visual and the tactile experience.
Balance is all about the visual weight of the components in your product. In a compost object such as the guitar with its several components balance its about their distribucion on the object. We need to consider each component color, texture and form so we can make the whole of the guitar look balanced and standing as a designed product and not a collage of components.
Emphasis is the protagonist part of the design. We talked previously about the guitar being a protagonist object or an accompanying one, and emphasis is the same concept but now applied inside the guitar. Does the emphasis rely on some interesting finish, or a unique pickguard or more traditionally on the old flame maple top!
Proportion is about how all the parts relate to each other in their size and individual weight. Parts that are not in a concordant proportion with the rest of the design will assume an undesired emphasis and add a sense of unbalance to the design.
Repetition and Pattern work side by side. Repetition of design elements and their characteristics will give your design a sense of unity. We can do this with colors, textures, materials, etc.
Pattern is repeating an element in a predictable way.
Rhythm occurs when we organize elements or patterns in the design with a degree of variety to create excitement and movement.
Unity is reached when all the parts of the product appear to work together to create the aesthetic appeal of the design, when all the components are balanced in harmony.
Texture refers to the surface characteristics of an object. We should explore the use of textures for the enrichment of our users' experience in their interactions with the object.
Hierarchy is relevant to complex objects, the more components an object has the more we need to create a legible hierarchy to facilitate its understanding by the user. Hierarchy is achieved when we correctly work all the previous aspects.