What is a good design?

Art is subjective – what might be pleasing to the eyes for one, could be annoying for another. It is absolutely up to the viewer to judge whether a piece of art has merit or not. Quite often in the design world, a question props up – “Is this a good design”? A question often asked in retrospection and self doubt, albeit a straight forward question, yet there are so many layers of answers to this.

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So what exactly makes a good design? What is it about certain designs that they manage to win millions of hearts and inspire people? What differentiates a good design from a bad one?  If you often get lost amidst such questions, go on further, as this blog is aimed to unravel the secrets behind what exactly makes a design stand out…

To put it simply, a good design is a combination of various elements, each having their own quality, put together to create a harmony – from colors to textures, from lines to letters, from sizes to spaces, these elements are the building blocks to form a piece of art. People often attribute good designs to vivid imagination, intensive brainstorming of ideas, however, the truth lies in simplicity before anything else. A good design has to tell a story, it should be strong enough to move people and it should speak volumes, without even saying a word.

“Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication”

– Leonardo Da Vinci

Have you ever used a product which made you admire its beauty in awe? It is safe to assume that not only did the product was pleasant to the eyes, it also performed great too. Take for example – Apple. The modern day standard of eye catching consumer products which are a perfect amalgamation of sense and simplicity. Not only do they stand the test of time when it comes to benchmarks and real world usage, they also are eye catching and carry a mass appeal with themselves. So much so, they are the most sought after products when it comes to flaunting in front of the world around you.

“Design is not just what it looks and feels like. It is about how it works”

– Steve Jobs

Whether you are a design student, an amateur, a professional or a hobbyist, keep in mind the ten commandments of a good design as laid out by German product designer Dieter Rams who was responsible for designing the consumer products of Braun. This list lays down key points which are valuable guidelines for anyone who designs. According to Rams, the ten principles to a good design are :

  1. Good Design is Innovative – Good design does not copy existing products nor does it imitates existing norms. Innovation is the key to capture hearts and infuse confidence in your design.
  2. Good Design is Useful – What’s the point of designing something if no one wants to use it. A good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product, while disregarding anything that distracts from it.
  3. Good Design is Aesthetic – A design must reflect aesthetic sense in all forms. It is crucial to the usefulness of a product as they are used everyday. An aesthetic design affects our well being.
  4. Good Design makes a product Understandeable – What makes a design stand out is its ability to say about itself without having the user to comprehend it. Every product should be self explanatory, clearly expressing its form and functions.
  5. Good Design is Unobtrusive – Products are like tools. They are neither decorative objects, nor work of art. A good design must tread the thin line between being neutral and restraining – to leave room for the user’s self expression.
  6. Good Design is Honest – It does not make a product more innovative, useful or powerful than it really is. A good design does not lies, nor does it attempts to manipulate the user with promises that cannot be kept.
  7. Good Design is Long Lasting – it avoids being fashionable therefore never appears antiquated. Good design doesn’t date, it stands the test of time and is forever.
  8. Good Design is Details – It’s all in the little details. Paying attention to the smallest of details can transcend a ‘medicore’ design into something truly remarkable. Nothing must be arbitary or left to chance. Caring about the details is caring about the user.
  9. Good Design is Environment Friendly – What’s the point of designing something if it’s environmentally irresponsible and makes you feel guilty.  A good design conserves energy and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout its lifecycle.
  10. Good Design is Minimalistic – Less is More, is a phrase designers often come across. A good design has everything that is necessary to make it harmonius. Concentrate only on the essentials, and let the complexity shine through simplicity. Back to purity, back to simplicity.

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Whatever you might be designing for, good design is making something memorable and meaningful. Your art should reflect your character, it should reflect your hopes towards creating something better than what is already existing and most importantly, it should mirror your inner voice which wants to contribute and create something exceptional.

“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, but to create something that will.”

This blog post is in association with Photo Influenza

 

 

 

Ramzan – Fast, Feast and Celebrate!

It’s that time of the year again! Muslims across the world celebrate Ramzan, the holiest month in the year according to Islam. Abstaining from food and water in the day, their faith restrains them to eat only two meals a day – the pre-dawn ‘sehri’ and the post-dawn ‘iftaar’. This is considered as a way to practice forbearance and self-control.

Delhi comes alive during the month of Ramzan and fuels the fire in foodies’ bellies. The bustling lanes are filled with delicious aromas of mouth-watering delicacies. Food aficionados flock in large numbers here and are found feasting around the streets and soaking in the diversity. The cultural amalgamation is nothing short of magnificent, with wafting aromas from different food stalls and leisurely floating visitors in old world gullies.

We decided to head towards the streets to sample the flavors and put together a list of our MUST try delicacies during Ramzan. Feel like tantalize your food buds? Scroll Below!

Ustaad Mouniddin Kabab


116Looking for the best beef kebabs in town? Look no further! This is the ultimate haven for all your beef fantasies. The old Ustad Moinuddin is long retired, but his legacy remains. Stop here for its cheap but succulent kebabs which are a melt-in-your mouth affair. They have just the right balance if flavors, being neither too spicy nor too bland. Hits the right buttons, this!

Karim’s


Best-Biryani-in-DelhiUndoubtedly, the most popular culinary destination for food lovers in Delhi, Karim exudes a charm that is hard to recreate. The scrumptious mutton seekh kebab and roast chicken are winners. You just can’t enjoy kebabs and curries on their own – you’ll need some bread to complement them and we found the perfect match in – ‘sheermal’ Slightly sweet and precisely fluffy, shermal is different from the usual roti/naan affair and perfectly complements the spices.

 Haji Mohammad Hussain


img_4412At Haji Mohammad, one simply cannot miss the Fried Chicken. Juicy bits of chicken are marinated in spices, coated with chickpea flour and fried golden. The crispy texture with moist insides has won many hearts. It is served with a red chutney that can put your mouth on fire. During Ramzan, they also serve succulent ‘Keema Golis‘ (minced meat served with onions). If you reach here around Iftar time, you’ll manage to get your hands on them.

 Aslam Chicken Corner


049e0f1987477ce63c1be343fd68add6_1466752951They are famed for adding their twist to the good ol’ recipe of chicken tikka a.k.a. ‘tasla‘. While the tikka is being grilled, huge pans of butter are heated next to it. The chicken tikka comes laden with a buttery taste along with onions, which seeps into the meat giving it a delectable and lip smacking flavor. Dieting be damned!

Changezi Chicken Corner


b885ee413f630f82adb5c63c5f0d53bf_1455546151Sticking to the implication of its name, they are known for their Changezi chicken which has a unique flavor to its gravy, tingled with just the right amount of spices and tender pieces of chicken grilled on a tawa. Lip smacking, isn’t it? You can also gorge on paya, beef biryani and a multitude of delicacies here. The closest you can get to heaven!

Bilal


cf4fa948e34ca4b52321f0c964de7003_1444141646This lesser known food joint is all the right reasons you’ll fall in love with Mughlai cuisine. Start with Bheja Fry – this recipe involves scrambling the goat’s brain and then frying it. It is then cooked with spices, onions and sprinkled with Indian herbs. Another must try is the ‘nihari‘, the meat is slow-cooked for hours which makes it delicate and tender. It is then simmered in gravy with spices and garnished with a squeeze of lime and green chillies. One word – Foodgasm.

Ghalib Kebab Corner


32ab232be6deaf1bf5ebfb47dd5a038a_1437552520Spot On, Kebabs! The spiced beef needs a special mention too. Plump pieces of meat are liberally marinated with Indian spices and yogurt, grilled on long skewers and laced with the right mix of butter. The aptly cooked kebabs are best mopped with sheermal or rumali roti. Sumptuous is the word which best describes the food at Ghalib. Another must try is the Chicken tikka and Mutton stew.

Nasir Iqbal Restaurant


Delhi-BiryaniAsk anyone in Nizamuddin where the best biryani is and they’ll unhesitatingly direct you to Nasir Iqbal, and we know why! Known for their spicy ‘Moradabadi‘ biryani. It is fresh and full of colours, chunks of  juicy,perfectly cooked boneless chicken go well with the delicate grains of rice, and is served adorned with green chillies and chutney for that extra ‘zing’.

Cool Point


5a9c68b87d438338e2f4871c3ebaac6e_1447053173Crave something sweet after the feast? One of the best place for desserts and refreshments after stuffing your stomach full with the feast. Cool Point is mainly famous for its ‘shahi tukda’ (bread deep fried in pure ghee and then dipped in malai) and ‘phirni’ (a mouth-watering dessert of milk and crushed rice served in clay pots). If the heat gets too high, one can also try the refreshing kesar milk, badam milk and lassi, sure to rejuvenate the senses.

Words cannot do justice to the taste. We’ll say no more, you’ll have to go and experience yourself, for this is a gastronomy divine!

P.S. – Watch Those Calories! 

 

 

 

Why You Should Travel Solo

To travel is to take a journey into yourself

The title seems like an arbitrary proclamation, but here’s why…

“What if traveling alone is not for me” will most certainly win the award for the question which averted the maximum number of people on this planet to step out and travel on their own. In today’s world, we are not blessed with many moments to be alone.

Some people also say it’s money which hinders them from traveling. Truth is, it’s not just about money, it’s about courage. The courage to let go of your worldly possessions, normality, relationships, friends. The courage to do something you have never done before.

Our fear of being alone, is the most terrifying of the fears we experience.

We have bills to pay, rentals to take care of, errands to run, families to feed, kids to worry about, friends to please  and other innumerable fears which clutch us back into our comfort zones like quicksand.

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Let me tell you – Don’t let being alone prevent you from being with yourself. Solo travel is probably the finest way to connect with your true self. It is when you wander alone, you can follow your whim and find your inner you. You can do things your way. After all, the best conversations always turn out to be the dialogues you have with your own self.

Oscar Wilde

 

Whenever I traveled by myself, I have observed a profound sense of the world around me…the colors seemed brighter, the sounds seemed clearer. The smell of rain on the ground, the warmth of fresh air beneath the sky, the gentle caress of wind through my hair. When alone, every moment seems like an opportunity to discover something new.

What’s interesting is the fact that I have met some of the most beautiful people (not the beauty which is skin deep) in my life, the stories with random strangers I have collected over years of traveling alone are treasures worth keeping till lifetime. It is worth mentioning that how easily people strike up a conversation with a person who is alone, as compared to a bunch of people traveling together. Travel has given me rewarding moments where I could connect with an unknown face and lose myself in a stimulating conversation, there have been enriching experiences about getting to know someone who doesn’t have an opinion of you. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s not. Either way, exposure to new connections is always a great idea to grow and expand your consciousness.

When you are alone, you belong to everyone

Who am I in this new place? Maybe I am a tourist, maybe a traveler, maybe a passerby but before anything else, I am ME. Stripped out of the norms of society, devoid of the rules of relations, to the bare minimum – me. Solo travel gives you the time to be at peace within. When we learn to love ourselves, despite of our flaws. When we understand ourselves and suddenly everything seems better. These magical moments of self-expression are priceless, and often, rare. And that is exactly when we are alive again!

We shouldn’t stop. We ought to find the courage to tread the path alone. There are few things better in life than being able to do what you want, at anytime you want, with anyone you want without having to explain anybody, ask anybody or hurt anybody. Try it once, you can thank me later.

Let’s pack our bags and step out in the wilderness again. Let the wanderlust set us free. Let’s not wait for anyone to tell us when to live again. Let’s take the road less taken and make a difference. Today. Really, there aren’t a lot of excuses left, are they?

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us” – Anonymous

A Feeling Called Familiarity

Music is what feelings sound like

5819184201_df0392f0e7_bRemember that feeling when a song takes you away into an entirely different place?

Articulation is the art of putting a story forward without coating it with filters. Music, thus, is the purest form of articulation. It clearly is the most divine, beautiful and serene gift from God. The only language, oddly enough to be understood and loved by over millions of identities in our world – all apart yet all together united by a mutual feeling.

Music. A Feeling Called Familiarity.

“Without music, life would be a mistake” – Freidrich Nietzsche

World Music Day is celebrated every year on June 21st. Surprisingly, it started in the form of a French music festival called Fete de la Musique  in 1981 by French minister of culture Jack Lang. Fast forward to present day, more than 32 countries worldwide are celebrating their love for music today. To kick your musical plans into top gear, Hauz Khas Village Traders’ Association has joined hands with Alliance Française de Delhi and have roped in over 20 venues in the capital to host events, live jams, musical sessions and much more to promote the diversity of music.

Bollywood fraternity, on the other hand, has turned to social media for celebrations. Legendary singer and musician Hariharan will unite with the likes of Arijit Singh, Rekha Bhardwaj, Sajid Wajid to perform as a treat for their fans on this special occasion. This event will go live on Facebook and fans would be able to connect with their musical heroes on their respective pages. Acclaimed Indian bands like Parikrama and Indian Ocean will also be headlining events and are set to enthrall audiences at Hard Rock Cafe in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Pune. The events will also see performances from artists like Amit Trivedi, Benny Dayal, Euphoria among others.

Play the moments, Pause the memories

Stop the pain, Rewind the happiness

Music can not only change our mood, it can also change the way we think. Quite literally, numerous studies have proven that listening to music is one of the few activities which involve more than 65% of our brain capacity. Our listening choices can determine our personality types. In another interesting study, it was proven that people who listen to Blues music are creative, easy going and have high self esteem as compared to people who prefer listening to Indie music being less creative, not gentle and with lower self esteem (exceptions, acknowledged). One study showed that children who learned playing an instrument for more than 3 years performed better in reasoning, aptitude, vocabulary, non-verbal reasoning skills and motor responses.

To put it fairly, music is far more diverse and deep a feeling to measured by surveys and research papers, it is a profound emotion whose magnitude cannot be measured in terms and units of science and psychology. Music is what feelings sound like. Period.

As life goes by a day at a time, would you pause and choose to get lost for a while. Would you wander away from the mundane and immerse yourself into deep, unmitigated joy for some time? If the answer is affirmative, have a happy World Music Day!

Tune In, Drop Out!

 

 

 

Steps Towards Somewhere

– Arriving somewhere but not here

I was supposed to be awake in the moment but somehow time slipped through the hands and lead my steps towards somewhere.

Exactly my point. The ancient art of conversation seems oh so relevant again!

We’ve known them all – Tech, Society, Religion, Sex and TV (possibly evolution) the reasons to devour from the moment, the only truth there is. Truth is,  we’re all too much into out screens than in our space around people. Life is much more than staring into a screen., isn’t it?

“For once, let’s put the phone down.

Let’s kick the butt, and put out that frown”

It all started when I would want to know ‘what song is it’ ( quick backdrop – I am musician too) whenever I heard a riff/solo/melody on the radio. Having said that, I’ve been one of the few lucky ones to be in surroundings which are ever-present of brilliant, sensible musicians and avid listeners. I guess it all comes down to my keen interest in registering a song in the grey matter of my head when it’s ‘worthy’ enough to be in my playlist. (Yes, I am picky and take immense pride in the collection of music built with pride, only allowing the choicest, selected few while filtering out the rest for my occasional SoundCloud/Spotify/YouTube spins). Call me a snob, it’s okay.

So it happened one day, the sounds emerged from somewhere, arrived in my ears and rang the bells of unfamiliarity, leading to the ‘aah this is amazing‘ feel. I, for one, sure do wanted to save that song forever in my playlist. Them Feels. There are some.moments you want to revisit again

Next urge, to know what it was which successfully struck a chord (pun intended). Next impulse, to pull out my phone and fire up that cool ‘I claim to know every song, but that’s never gonna happen’ app – and so I did, waiting for it to feed my curiosity. The animation grew closer to conclusion, the internet was on all fours,

the clock ticked…nothing happened.

I tried again, furiously closing down the app and re-initiating the process

Unfortunately, the app wanted me to try again. Wait, What! was I disappointed? Should I go and get the competitor app immediately OR was going with this a sound choice(no pun intended). More than often, I start judging the choices made in past to justify their result in present). As thoughts started overflowing in my mind, something unexpected happened!

However,
In my moments of confusion, I could find one answer which I wasn’t looking for! I realized that not only it’d have been easier to simply ask what song from the person playing it, it’d have been a terrific conversation starter! Imagine, two different people digging the same song – Yep! Them Feels. Imagine the joy when two people appreciate the beauty of art together  – like patrons admiring the same painting. Remember the time and the place and the song – you and your musical friend could talk about for what seemed like ages? Pure. Uninterrupted Joy.
All of this, and a bit of that, gave birth to a sudden  revelation – Has technology subtly killed the art of a conversation? Are smartphones the new #BFF ? Have we
Arriving somewhere, but not here. Is it too easy to blame? Questions my mind asked, answers my heart knew. For once, I knew what I was seeking.

And thus, the irony subsided. I was no more clueless.

Ask More, Find Often.

Oh, and here’s what happened to the song – I did manage to ask that friend and strike up a beautiful conversation, a flowing stimulant like feel of being in the present moment only.

“The song is over, I am left with only tears. I must remember, even if it takes a million years” – The Who