The word 'design' is multifaceted. It can refer to plans, proposals or creative endeavors. Design surrounds us in every aspect of our life--homes, buildings, city planning, vehicles, art, theater, clothing, and toys. Even food has a design element, presentation. So, design is what makes anything functional, appealing and attractive. It has aesthetic functions that result from inspiration, research, and modeling.
To some the sense of design is ingrained in their genes, while others acquire a design sense through rigorous training.
The principles to be used will of course depend upon whether one is looking at architectural, automotive, computer or machinery design, which are scientific in nature and have different aims, or communication design, which is applied to advertisements, books, magazines, websites, and so on.
In the case of communication design, it must have a focal point, everything else being secondary. It must follow certain simple rules: the design must be simple and clutter free, it must represent clearly the theme or element for which it is in use, it must be functional and have a visual hierarchy. The size, color, texture, and types must be varied to create depth and contrast.
The keys are: alignment, proximity, repetition, and contrast. The spaces must create depth and the colors harmony. Good design is said to be 98% common sense.
Before a design is visualized, one must determine what it represents, its uses, the audience, the focus, and goals. Every design must portray emotion and imagination -it must draw the eye time and again to its center, and elicit a response and recall.
Creativity, the ability to listen and comprehend what others have to say and absorb the very soul of the project concerned, are the qualities of a good designer. Design straddles many worlds--philosophical, scientific, as well as creative. In each world, design, like a potter's wheel, gives shape as well as functionality.