5 Epic Design Lessons to Learn from Nature

by in Articles on 27th Apr 2012 · Comments

Everyone must have heard the saying, ‘nature is the greatest teacher’. Although this sounds like a relatively simple statement, the real essence of this small sentence is absolutely pushed aside by every one of us while we are busy in our chain routines. Nature is everywhere; it is what we are, where we are and what we see around us every single day.

For us nature is there only for the sake of being there, while on the other hand what we don’t realize is that nature always has a purpose to serve and its mere existence carries deep lessons for all of us. Therefore, in this article, I would like to pay tribute to the wonders of the nature by highlighting some simple yet valuable lessons that it holds particularly for designers.

Design Lessons to Learn from Nature

Designers are creative professionals. No matter how proficient they get in their work, they are (and they should) always be on the look out for new things to learn. Learning is what keeps them running and learning is what vouches for their success. Learning from books, magazines or the internet are at times good options to keep your designing skills updated, even so, if we think about it, taking lessons from the simple things in nature can be an experience apart.

These design lessons from nature will enable you to be successful in your business, the way nature is being successful in running the universe.

Epic Design Lessons to Learn from Nature

Consistency

Consistency is one of the basic elements of nature. From the petals of a flower to a chain of sky-kissing mountains, we see consistency in everything. Consistency adds the elements of harmony and unity to the environment.

Consistency

Designers can take a great lesson from it, as consistency is an important element in graphic design as well. Consistency in color and color schemes, fonts, placement and positioning etc. make the design look harmonious. Moreover, any deviation from consistency helps to add emphasis to a particular element. Nevertheless, a design looks more regular and professional with consistency.

Apart from consistency in design, (both web and graphic) designers should keep consistent in their career as well. Staying focused and consistent towards a certain field of design can ensure soaring success and a promising future for designers.

Balance

Instead of so much contrast, everything in nature is in striking balance with each other. Balance between day and night, life and death, all four seasons and even in the human body. Balance is what doesn’t let the components of the world intersect each other and keeps the processes of the universe working.

Balance

Taking inspiration from nature, keeping a balance and visual equilibrium in design is crucial for its effectiveness. Balance is an equalization of opposing forces in a composition that results in visual stability. A balanced composition between font, graphical elements and layout compose a successful design. Furthermore, there should be a balance between the usability and aesthetics of your design, and if any one of these elements over-powers the other, it creates confusion for the viewer.

Other than the graphical balance, designers should observe equilibrium in their personal and professional life as well. Spending a suitable amount of time at work and balancing it with taking time out for personal activities vouches for a healthier a life.

Contrast

Contrast is the flavor of life and is the most widely used principle of Mother Nature. The basic concept of contrast is that if two items aren't the same, make them very different. Contrast is what keeps the universe running. Contrast between day and night, yin and yan, matter and antimatter, electron and proton, men and women, weather and climates, people and races and even in the colors of a single flower petal.

Contrast

If we take the same principle of contrast in our designs, we will see that it adds to your page. Contrasting colors, graphical elements, size, fonts, communication patterns and the placement and positioning of each element on a layout is what makes a good design great.

Moreover, in the personal and professional life of a designer, contrast plays a vital role. For instance, it is always good for a designer to have contrasting skills and qualities, like designing and business management skills. Having these contrasting qualities is what makes a designer a complete professional.

Proportion

From a literary point of view, proportion means the relation between things or their elements with respect to their comparative quantity, magnitude, or degree. From a level as minor as atomic to as major as cosmic, proportion is always expressed in nature as one of its most notable features.

Proportion

Likewise, proportion and rhythm are an integral part of design. A good design has to be clear, understandable and intuitive, and proportion is the best way to achieve it. In terms of design, proportion refers to the relative size and scale of the various elements in a design and contributes most commonly to the unity of a design.

Taking the instance of color proportion in a design, color proportion relates to how varying colors and color combinations or color values compare with one another. In such a case, certain color choices and competing areas of color impact the unity of the design composition.

Simplicity

Nature implies many complicated and highly complex systems and processes to run the universe and its elements. One thing we all tend to overlook is that these complex systems and processes actually work with the help of extremely simple and basic factors. The extremely complex human body that comprises many different systems and sub-systems basically owes its existence to absolutely simple building blocks which are again narrowed down to even simpler energy particles.

Moreover, taking the instance of a snow flake and its simple geometric shape or any of the solar constellations that emerge into incredible shapes with a simple ‘join the dots’ activity, nature upholds the value of simplicity in all of its systems, structures and processes.

Simplicity

To relate the simplicity of nature with an apt design lesson, I would like to mention a quote by E.F. Schumacher who said, "Any fool can make things complicated, but it requires a genius to make things simple." Simplicity is an important design principle seeks to minimize the information as densely and accurately as possible so the audience can actively receive it. A simple design is more aesthetically pleasing and more accessible. Simplicity, if well observed in design, strikes a perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality.

Conclusion

For millions of years people of the world have been turning to nature for inspiration to help them solve problems and develop better solutions. From buildings and bridges, sky scrapers to developing materials and medicines, design inspiration from nature has assisted in the development and shaping of almost every aspect of our lives.

Although most of us, often without realizing, benefit from nature’s endless sources of inspiration several times a day, however, this piece of writing has been particularly developed for designers to look around and get inspiration from the endless wonders Mother Nature provides.

Arfa M Waqas is a writer and self-taught graphic designer. She has a dream of making it big with her CreatiWittyBlog which is all about design, creative ideas and witty posts.