Designing with Forces

Alexander Calder Mobile

The picture above is Mobile by Alexander Calder, from the Tate collection.

I think it’s the perfect metaphor for good design. All of the different elements are balanced and in harmony.

In the book Notes on the Synthesis of Form, Christopher Alexander describes design in exactly these terms. Design is the process of finding balance between different forces - whether those are economic, aesthetic, technical, human, or anything else. When balance is found, that is when a design is great.