The other day I was chatting with Paco about this. Sometimes we’ve been focusing on the fancy things too much and forgotten about the goal. You can replace the word “fancy” with many other things too. In general, “goodness” doesn’t scale linearly with the complexity of the design.
In the past years, we ditched all the lights, shadows, and textures in our UI designs. And now we are slowly adding them back. This is not an argument about flat design and skeuomorphism design, nor a step back but moving forward by understanding design better.
It’s like the simulated annealing algorithm. Over time, we move and test, again and again, and we seem to be closer to the best result in our sights.
But unfortunately, the “good result”—that peak on our previous chart, is a moving target. We get bored with the same aesthetics every once in a while, and the environment changes rapidly as well. The term “trend”, describes the shape of good design in people’s minds at a certain time.
The variable is time. When chasing the trend, we are chasing a moving target. We do new designs every year for the same old things, not as an improvement, but for following the trend.
I want to decorrelate time from my design. I want to understand design better, and find the non-exsiting good design, that is beyond the past, now, and future. As Dieter Rams said, good design is timeless.