Nº 279


Text: Stephan Ott

Translation: Emily J. McGuffin


It’s no easy task to sort out and interpret the role of designers in areas as diverse as product development, brand development, embodiment or space flight. When regarded from the outside, the interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary approach used by designers is often mistaken for invasiveness. From the interior point of view, on the other hand, many designers see impulses from the outside primarily as a menace and not as an enrichment of their work. Yet, it is precisely amateurs from outside the industry who are sometimes able to provide vital inspiration, as evidenced by current and historical examples.

Designers conceptualise and develop in different dimensions: graphically in a grid and on surfaces, objectively in (public) spaces, audiovisually in space-time or socially with the help of the fifth dimension, language. Up to this point, it is still no big difference to make out with representatives of other creative disciplines, for example artists, like painters, sculptors, film-makers or authors. One decisive difference, however, is that designers, regardless of the dimension for which they design, always do so for operational purposes and for a concrete addressee, that is, the user.



One reason for the aforementioned scepticism is revealed in this combination of cross-dimensional and user-oriented work: as users, in our experience, an unequivocal dimensional assignment of the respective operational purpose is namely important to us. While the “archi-designer” Gio Ponti may be one of the exceptions in this regard, we are more familiar with an architect who concentrates only on the enclosed space – which, by the way, is one reason why Zaha Hadid, for example, only found public recognition as an architect when her designs were also built or became buildable.

We are not quite certain how to deal even with a packaging designer who must incorporate not only the colour (the quality of the surface dimension) or the material (the quality of the spatial dimension), but also movement (the quality of the space-time dimension), and nowadays even the algorithms of the respective packaging robot (the quality of the digital technologies) in his considerations.




Viewing design in very wide-ranging and cross-dimensional terms, form is a source of inspiration and founds relationships between all design disciplines, be they rather practical or oriented to the liberal arts. For already in the very first issue of form, its founders stated, among other things, that: “form has as its viewpoint the conviction that we live in a technical age which seeks to express itself in the realm of visible forms but without having found its expression completely.” We continue to labour with great joy at this never-ending process of discovery.

In this issue, we welcome Eva Artinger as our new editorial designer and look forward to working with her. Finally, dear readers, we wish you stimulating reading.


Stephan Ott, Editor-in-Chief


Nº 282

form Design Magazine

Aws4 request&x amz signedheaders=host&x amz signature=35ab024d0f2bb5da061b4aefd945ccf1b6c16c53445e64a28d619a4ee96620c0 Order now


Verlag form GmbH & Co. KG
Wildunger Straße 8
60487 Frankfurt am Main

T +49 69 153 269 430
F +49 69 153 269 431

Subscription Service

Questions to your subscription invoice, to our subscription program or a change of address?

T +49 69 153 269 438
F +49 69 153 269 439


Sign up now and get access to exclusive ticket draws, monthly news about the magazine as well as information on exciting design events and publications.

Sign up

Design Magazine
Established 1957