Design based on theory

When I look at the talented designers around me I get jealous. I would just love to have a slice of their talent so I could create something else than just a one column layout with minimal use of color.

Use theory

When I was a little kid my mother used to tell me I have beautiful eyes. I always wondered what that means. What are the variables that make eyes beautiful? I just couldn’t tell if someone’s eyes were beautiful or ugly. Or just normal. And to be honest, I still don’t get it. I think most eyes are interesting to look at. Yes, some eyes are a real pleasure to look at, but I still don’t know why exactly. And if I don’t know why something is beautiful, I just don’t get it. I start doubting if it’s true. If somebody can explain me the theory behind what makes an eye beautiful, things would change.

If I understood what makes an eye beautiful, what makes an eye plain normal or what makes an eye ugly, I could start complimenting people. Is it the shape? The colour? The the size? The distance between the eyes? The place of the eyes in the rest of the face? Or a combination of these variables? As you can see, I think there is a theory behind beauty. And I believe recognising and analysing beauty can be learned.


For me personally, learning this theory is very important. I don’t have a natural understanding, or gut feeling, or intuition about beauty. Once I get the theory, I can use it, and I can make designs that look static, but ok. They are theoretically correct, and probably a bit boring. But I believe understanding the theory is important for natural talents as well. I think that being able to explain why your design is beautiful makes it even better. If you can explain why you used a 2em margin, or a 2.4em heading. If you are able to explain why you decided to ignore all theory you might even convince me. But you need to know the theory to be able to explain your decisions to talentless amateurs like me. Because we are everywhere and we are stubborn.