From a scientific point of view, formal techniques are used for specification, analysis and accuracy. Using those approaches results in a greater reliability and improved robustness of a product. Now, if you transfer those ideas to design, the answer is Formal Design.
Formal Design follows strict rules of, for example, shape, colour, texture and patterns. It often involves symmetry and composition, like the Rule of Thirds or the Fibonacci Sequence.
Contrary to this approach is the Informal Design which is closely related to Organic Design and relies on working instinctively. Organic Design is also known as design by nature. Many “organic artists” are minimalists and, like nature, keep only the essential elements in their art or products. They do not “fear” strangeness, but instead welcome it. Examples for this can be found on Ross Lovegrove’s webpage which showcases many of his designs like the water bottle, he mentioned in his TED talk. Especially fascinating is the Environment section which displays bamboo bikes, solar trees and the Infinity House.
A further example for the appliance of Informal Design is architecture, which copies the functions and the aesthetic of nature. One of the most famous architects is Frank Lloyd Wright who is often seen as the founder of Organic Architecture. His most known designs include Fallingwater, the Massaro House, and Taliesin.
My favourite example for Organic Architecture is the Kunsthaus Graz which was build by Sir Peter Cook and Colin Fournier in 2003. I am not entirely sure why I am so impressed by this building. Maybe, because it is in Austria and I’m homesick and proud of my culture (let’s be real Germany and Austria are basically one country). Maybe it is because it reminds me of the creatures in the Japanese animation films by Hayao Miyazaki. Maybe, I just really like that the article describes the building as a giant space slug and the way the gallery looks in between the surrounding houses. Maybe, it is like you explained it: Humans are organic so we like organic design. Whatever the real reason behind this is, I just found my next holiday destination.
Yesterday, after the the lab, I got the assignment for my Marketing And Professional Development course so when I arrived back in my room I sat down on my chair, pulled out my laptop and… reactivated my Netflix account. Funnily enough, the joke’s on me (besides the obvious reasons), because I did accidentally inspire myself. The thing is I watched a documentary called Frozen Planet but all I could think about was organic shapes and the beauty of nature. (It is hard to not notice it when you keep seeing videos of Antartica.) Anyways, to get to my point, I ended up drawing a penguin. What an anticlimactic paragraph, but really what did you expect?
Technically, the way the task is formulated, I did not cheat. Maybe I did not use the whole A4 sheet and maybe it is not as brilliant as my initial idea of folding origami shells but it sure as hell is easier. (I’ve been wondering, am I allowed to use swear words in this assignment?)
PS: Look, I only used squares for the background 🙂