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Real World Sketching

Where does form language come from?


I think we can all agree that form development is an important step in the design process. But when it comes to deciding how a product concept should look and feel, what do we base that decision on?


I've identified a few sources of form:


  • Inspiration. The forms of the product are influenced by the design of an unrelated object.



  • Form follows function. The functionality of the product dictates the appropriate forms.


  • Vibe. An aesthetic is created to match a mood that the team wants the product to embody.


  • Strategy. A set of success criteria is established for the product to fulfill its objective. The forms satisfy the criteria.


  • Visual Brand Language (VBL). The product's brand already has a system of visual elements and design principles it uses to create a cohesive and recognizable identity. The forms of new concepts adhere to it.



For our projects, we're almost always sourcing our form language from VBL and strategy.


I believe the form source depends on what kind of companies you're working with.

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