| John Spacey, April 26, 2016 updated on January 22, 2018
Form is the 3-dimensional shape of an object. This is a basic design consideration that has implications for usability, compatibility, performance and customer needs. The following are illustrative examples of form in design.
ArtSculpture that is mostly defined by its form.
ArchitectureForm exists at many levels in architecture. The overall form of a building or structure is known as its massing. Form is also a primary element of the detailed design of a building including floor layout, ornamentation and interior design.Generally speaking, most designs are built to human scale such that they can be used by people. For example, a doorway with dimensions that allows all people to fit through it.
IntegrationProducts designed to be compatible with other things such as a standard bicycle tire that fits many models of bicycle.
PerformanceForm impacts performance. For example, an aircraft that is shaped for energy efficiency, speed and stability.
CapacityCapacity is a common constraint on form such as a soccer stadium that needs to seat 55,000 people.
InstallationDesign for installation such as solar modules that are a size that allow a crew as small as two people to install a system.
Dematerialization is the tendency for products to use less materials as they advance. For example, modern materials that allow buildings to have thinner walls.
MiniaturizationThe tendency for form factors to become smaller with time such as computers smaller than a penny that can outperform historical computers the size of a room.
EconomicsProducts are commonly shaped by economics such as solar panels designed to minimize the cost per watt of solar systems.Usability such as an elevator button that is large and accessibly placed such that most people with disabilities find it easy to use.
StyleForm is a basic consideration in the style and visual appeal of an item. For example, the form of a chair may communicate that it is modern or based on a culture or tradition.
Form is an element of brand identity. For example, a brand of mineral water with a unique shape of bottle.
VirtualThe form of virtual environments such as an object, character or world in a video game.
This is the complete list of articles we have written about design.
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The difference between shape and form as design elements.
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