flawed education

I always felt that important lessons were missed out of general education and mine in particular. In between other things life skills,… and a few other things that help us go through life and be happy. (This is in no way a complete list you understand!)

photo credit: Mixtribe Photo via photopin cc

photo credit: Mixtribe Photo via photopin cc

Today I came across something about Japanese design. It was not so much about the aesthetics but more about the meaning behind design. It puts into words simple concepts that I am going to share here.


Wabi stands for a kind of freshness and quietness. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of an object is evidenced in its patina and wear, or in visible repairs. The Japanese word for rust is also pronounced as sabi, and the two words surely share some connotations, when it comes to the impermanence of things. Wabi-sabi then is the art of balancing those two, which is neverending process in itself. In short: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, nothing is perfect and that is a good thing.


It means original, calm, exquisite and sophisticated but without being perfect or complicated. A bit like the French word “chic”, but as the English would say: understated chic.

keep things plain and simple. Reducing designs to their essence is seen as strength of character.

Read more: http://www.tonyadavidson.com/musings_and_mullings/2012/07/5-concepts-to-improve-your-design-the-japanese-way.html#ixzz2qOfJ61ZW

(this is mainly an extract of an article called 5 japanese design concepts. click here if you want to read more http://www.batikk.be/post/47622466669/5-japanese-design-concepts)

photo credit: Thomas Leth-Olsen via photopin cc

photo credit: Thomas Leth-Olsen via photopin cc

One thing is for sure. The wording above meant more to me than many things I have read in the past and the reason is simple. Of course education puts a lot of design styles and movements into descriptions and set of artists. But here’s the thing, none of them talked to me. Putting the essence of design decisions and style like iki or wabi-sabi is not common knowledge. I am not surprised though but I feel very strongly that if it was, it would do a lot for many artists and designers. It would simplify their communication and most importantly build their confidence no end.

This post may not be for everyone but if it makes a difference for one person, then it was worth writing. And if this person is you, drop me a line and tell me how.


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