Frank Chimero says, pretty much, that there’s no such thing as “timeless” design. This is something I couldn’t accept - unlike I could with several other posts of his - so I had to write this.
I admire Frank and in fact the very first post on this blog (after the old blog was purged and the new one built atop) has his name on it. His “Roses from Bullshit” remains - and will remain for the rest of my life - my most favorite post ever.
He has a measured ruthlessness about penning his thoughts that I like but don’t necessarily emulate. He carries the same ruthlessness in this post, a rebuttal of the idea/notion of “timelessness” in design.
If design is merely stuff that’s flat, skeuomorphic, retro, metallic or any of the hundreds of other varieties, his claim stands true and undisputed. But I think ‘design’ supersedes these things.
May be Frank was provoked by the writer’s usage of the word “timeless” in a wrong context of a good/great design. Google’s flat designs for their apps on iOS and Android and elsewhere on the web are great but not timeless. They’re going to run out of fashion in a few years. Apple’s skeuomorphic fetish has already been dethroned one too many times. Any other facet of design faces a similar fate.
But I think design can be timeless. It depends on how you define ‘design.’ It depends on how you broaden your perception of what design really means, what it really indicates.
The typography on Google’s logo is more than a decade old. Those colors too. Then there’s the gradient that Google employs. These are design elements. They are timeless. Timeless design elements that are wedded correctly result in a timeless design.
Apple’s logo? Sure, there were colors in it first. Then it becomes a shiny metal. May be you remember the plain logo too. But the basic thing has remained pretty much ‘timeless’, right?
Not all designs that are a combination of timeless design elements (like, say, a rounded corner, a thin gradient or a good typography) lead to timeless designs.
But to say that there is no timelessness in design seems just a tad wrong. A little narrow-minded although I’m sure it’s just a fallacy even the likes of Frank fall into, but only rarely.
Look around. There’s timelessness is nature’s design. And in her footsteps, there are people like Rams, Ive and you, Mr Chimero.