Physical design principles
> Physical design principles
Color | Lines | Angles |
Surfaces | Shape | Height
| Distance | Sound | See also
Here are physical design principles that you should consider when designing
Natural light is
desirable, though there is often too little to go around.
the natural light to spread as far as possible.
light transmission and increases privacy.
light creates monotony. Light can be used to mark and identify. Pools of light
Ceiling, pillar or wall-mounted spotlights can be
used to highlight and create pools of light.
especially at the red end of the spectrum, grab attention. For large expanses
they are overpowering. In limited use, such as for highlighting, they break up
tedium and create interest.
Contrast attracts attention
and makes things stand out. Use to highlight differences.
Colors travel in matched sets. Coordinate
colors that are used.
There is an entire
psychology of color. Thus:
Light colors reflect light and give an open, airy
Dark colors absorb light, close space and can make
a place seem cozy.
Natural colors and textures are relaxing. Earth
colors (brown and orange) add warmth.
Red signals danger, love and hate (in China it
means luck). It raises emotions and creates energy.
Yellow can be sunny and warm but can also be
Green symbolizes life and nature and can be
Blue, depending on hue, can be cool (ice blue) or
calm (sky or water blue).
separating two things.
Lines lead the eye,
especially when they converge (as in perspective).
Curves are soft but
require more attention to follow them, especially if they are very wavy.
Too many lines
cause confusion, especially when they cross one another.
predictable and ease construction and make layout easy and efficient.
Obtuse angles fit within the field of vision
and are thus more restful than acute angles.
They can als be a practical shape.
Smooth surfaces, especially light ones, reflect
light that can dazzle. Matt surfaces prevent this.
Textures add interest and tactile sensation.
Flat surfaces are convenient and easy, but can be
boring and tiring.
A shape is defined by its boundary, which may be a
line or color change.
Simple shapes are easy on the eye.
Make large shapes simple, then break up the large
shapes with small complex shapes (eg. plants).
Height can make something stand out from a distance,
such as a common area. It can thus be used for wayfinding.
Height, such as a column, near a person can be
People are pretty lazy about distance. They
communicate and socialize with others who are closest to them. This effect
drops off sharply with distance and required effort.
People on adjacent desks who can see one another
will converse easily on most topics.
More effort is needed to get up to go and see
someone else even on the same floor.
Effort increase with going to a different building
or floor, different town, different country.
Effective distance is a combination of physical
distance, visual distance and social distance.
The harder it is for people communicate the less
they will do so.
Physical distance is affected by layout designs.
Visual distance is affected by barriers (and
Social distance is affected by the opportunities
people have to meet on an informal basis.
Too little sound in the workplace can make people
feel alone and lonely.
Too much sound is disturbing, especially if people
are listening to something else (eg. on the phone).
Sudden sounds are alarming and can evoke the ‘fight
or flight’ adrenaline rush.
‘Buzz’ is the comfortable sound of people at work.
It conveys energy and companionship.
When we hear white noise, our ears compensate for
it. It can be effective at masking background noise.
The Meaning of Color