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Is taste subjective?

Is taste subjective?

If you are convinced about a simple answer of “yes”, then reading this article is more or less pointless.

The more complicated answer is — no, taste is an ideal that is objective, only your posession of it is subjective.

When I was a child, I used to visit countless art exhibitions with my parents. My father — a sculptor — used to ask me: “Do you like this painting? Or this sculpture”. I answered with candidness natural to children: “I don’t know” (if only more adults shared similar trait when unsure of an opinion). I really had no idea what painting or sculpture is good and did not know how to evaluate their qualities. My taste was basically non-existent.

However, after a decade of education and personal experience, I can tell you if the art / design piece is good or not and why. The difference between what I know now and back then is simple — immense amount of comparative experiences both in art and design. Now, this is not a place to talk about how I was trained and what I went through to achieve that experience, it is simply to illustrate a world of difference between someone who doesn’t know and someone who went through the effort to know.

We can say the degree of subjectivity of one’s taste is correlated to the magnitude of comparative experience.

The difference is indeed in comparative experiences. Someone who has observed 10,000 paintings will have a better idea of how to evaluate art than the one who glanced at one scribble. Extreme example, but essence of it applies to evaluation of every creative effort.

Based on this, we can say the degree of subjectivity of one’s taste is correlated to the magnitude of comparative experience. However, this equation is still not quite complete. Experience is the major component, but then there is the creativity itself. Creativity elevates the richness of comparative experiences into an active system that can find and create new analogies effectively and flexibly.

Simply said, this means the person will not become stale, conservative and myopic even after decades of experience in a specific creative field. This means the objectivity of one’s taste will be able to evaluate even experiences vastly different from the usual and appraise them more precisely.

How precisely? The accuracy of an articulated (as in described) opinion relies heavily on logic and intelligence. The ability to entitle creative processes and compose them into a comprehensible opinion.

In conclusion, a person can indeed have an objective taste. If the person can logically explain why precisely is something as whole or in parts qualitatively “good” or “bad”, the opinion can be called objective.

Objectivity of a taste is a marriage of comparative experience, creativity as a sum of intellectual +emotional richness and intelligence manifested in logic.

It’s no rocket science.

Cost of design.

Cost of design.

I have been a witness to many cases of wonder and surprise when it comes to how much manufacture of product design cost. This article will serve for better orientation within manufacture and design services costs.

Three qualities every contemporary product design should have. (to be successful).

Archetypal quality — an iconic look.

Archetype is an assamblage of ideal shapes reduced to their essence. It is an iconic, simplistic look that people easily remember — even a simple outline of the design could indicate its origin.

The key and challenge of reaching a certain archetype lies in balancing the simplicity with narrative features and sculptural execution.


Case examples:

Success of Apple is based on the premise of a well executed simplicity that is completely neutral and thus, enables the greatest room to “identify” with the product. However, Apple presents the extremity that sacrifices the other two components to reach the greatest audience, a median without a clearly defined taste.

Dyson is an example that goes further in terms of design maturitity. It fuses iconic look with a clear concept of narrativity in its identity and encases these features into smooth aesthetics.

Narrative quality — the story in design.

“Narrativity” in design is all about creating a combination of shapes and materials that create a sense of inner logic that has an epical consequentiality.

Aesthetical consequentiality is built on two pillars — form and function and their context. Historical or classical “design” was built mainly through ornament that carries the motion and intent of a certain narrative aim, function is in this case mostly structural.

In modern or contemporary design, the function becomes the form. The forms may be inspired and thematic, but their existence is derived from the presence of a certain functional element.

Case examples:

The best field to explain this concept is Haute Horlogerie. Complex mechanisms and their numerous functional points lead designers firmly to make the best aesthetical use of them and showcase the function in the best possible manner.

Franck Muller watches

Franck Muller watches

Similar thinking can be applied in any contemporary design — the function leads the aesthetical demonstration and with the combination of a theme, the design will present pure “storytelling”, without any ornament, only through a simple combination of shapes introduced through a function.

Sculptural quality — the fluency and attractivity of forms.

Sculptural in design can be defined as a balance of sharp and round forms. The complexity of such shaping is determined by the degree of presence of an archetype. The more discerning the archetype, the less developed is the complexity of sculptural shaping.

In other words, the more we strive for an iconic look, the less visually intricate will the object be.

For a commercial success of a design, it is necessary to find a rational balance between the development of shapes — their ridges, valleys and “hills” and an iconic look people can understand and identify with. The more precisely we can balance these two aspects, the better we can predict impact of a design to our selected target groups and market.

Case examples:

The best area to illustrate the potential of sculptural shaping and qualities is the automotive world. Nowhere else in design does the mere look bear such a weight in customer’s decision in proportion to price. Cars are the most expensive objects most people can buy and their looks have developed immensely over a century. Another reason to include automotive as the best example is the main factor that streamlines the curves — aerodynamics — the shapes simply have to be arranged according to existence of these forces, this bestowes cars with an inherent functional quality that naturally leads to sculptural shaping.

Porsche 918

Porsche 918



Two best examples are the Porsche 918 and LaFerrari, their shaping is the most well executed in terms of logical continuation of shapes and their iconic presence.

918 presents the more staid aestethics and LaFerrari the more dymanic fluency, but both excel in what we can call “sculptural shaping” and thus illustrate the concept the best.

Another example is from product, the leaders of developed shaping in design were the Eames couple. Their works are the best incarnations of the on point combination of iconic looks and developed shapes.

Eames Lounge Chair Wood (Eames LCW)

Eames Lounge Chair Wood (Eames LCW)

Charles and Ray Eames with their Lounge Chair and ottoman

Charles and Ray Eames with their Lounge Chair and ottoman

Conclusive example.

The GJ by Grete Jalk chair, currently in production by Lange productionsums all three describe dqualities and imbues them into an utmost modern, almost a futuristic work (despite the design being over 50 years old).

GJ chair by Grete Jalk

GJ chair by Grete Jalk

The GJ chair at the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Danish Design exhibition. Via   Gizmodo

The GJ chair at the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Danish Design exhibition. Via Gizmodo

GJ chair presents a quality of aesthetics designers should be inspired by and should strive to achieve.

The future of design in terms of commercial success lies mainly in diverting the customer from competition with the sheer visual quality. The technological aspect is currently more advanced than the aesthetics we can manufacture and produce.

To sum up:

If you can divide yourself from a crowd based on a simple, quick glance, you are halfway “there”. The precision of determining the ratios between the three described qualities will help you to achieve the greatest part of success — to establish a dialogue between you and the customer. The rest will take care of itself. Almost. But that is up to another article☺

What is art today? – Part II. – The shift

What is art today? – Part II. – The shift

The second part of the article will resume questions and thoughts of the first one, mainly the one layed in the very beginning – Where is art today?

The vivid and mostly very rich intellectualization of art that rapidly evolved in the beginning of 20th century in abundance of new forms, styles, platforms, motions and associations infused an enormous boost into productivity and quality of art and artistic forms. 

This period gave life to the greatest production of quality art in our history. Other, auxiliary processes have helped to accelerate this cultural boom – rapid evolvement of industrialization was the most prominent one, it brought scepticism but also opened myriad of horizons, it transformed our lives into a truly modern period. 

All in all, the greatness of the early 20th century was extremely fruitful in intellectual and emotional completion of a modern world.

However, reaching such great heights usually means there will be a downfall nearby. The flourishing, immersive and essential boom of intellectualization in art continued – but began to transform from explaining rich content full of ideas to explaining void.

When did this happen? There is not a precise moment in the history, but it began when ideas and tension of the early 20th century started evaporating and mass media began to take over. 

Now – I am not saying the media was ever the reason for the "void" starting to fill in, it was merely a symptom of a certain cultural weariness that came down after the exhaustive start of the century. After all the cultural and technological advancement, It was a calming blanket of an understandable language. 

This is the era where the shift of creative masterminds will be happening. It starts in the early 50's – precisely when the media begins to take reigns over many aspects of our decision creating process. 

Advertising – How to sell an idea.

The shift begins with "idea" as a qualitative constant migrating from art to product. We are no longer trying to "sell" an abstract idea, we are trying to sell an idea embedded to a functional value – a product.

This is the birth of advertising age. Product and all that is connected with it through its cycles is now a very distinctive part of our life. Necessarily, such extensive and demanding production area requires a lot of combined creative talent. We are probably all acquainted to Mad Men, a show that sheds more light on this period of our history. We can see what kind of intent and will was and is necessary to push out a potentially successful product. 

In reality, it started with prominent figures such as David Ogilvy, who was a man with multi-faceted past and a complex personality enhanced by an undoubtedly exceptional wit and intelligence. Ogilvy was able – with his clarity and intellect – build one of the greatest ad agencies. He was the modern prototype of a a creative thinker, who was no longer an artist, but an opened, creative mind ready to process any kind of creative task. I would recommend anyone having any interest in product or design – to read his books – 1, 2.

A considerable number of creatives and artists were no longer considering art as their journey, either because they were interested in a more stable life or they were tired / dissapointed of the beginning decline of artistic quality and values (this was not the case in the eastern europe, that was more closed and paradoxically, art was supported by law as a "must" inclusive feature to any new architectural building – a topic for a whole, different article).

Other areas, such as film industry were also attracting creatives, but advertising was the most complex mechanism that employed a wide range of creatives. 


What has changed?

So what is different from the era of 50's, 60's and so on when art began its period of decline (with exceptions of course)? World has become far more faceted, layered and complex. You can undoubtedly find good art, but probably not presented by any large or widely known platform – for the reasons described in the first part of the article. However, if you dig deep or are simply lucky, you really can find or buy good art, but this does present a certain kind of stretch and labour, usually only very passionate and educated collectors adhere to such difficult routes (I would go as far when saying this is only 2 - 5 % of "serious art collectors", yes, that low of a percentage).

The shift of creative force meanwhile completed itself with 99,99 % creatives working in areas connected to product or design. Is this good or bad? I would say – good. The reason for saying this, is that the today's world is so incredibly polluted with information (most of it is junk), that starting a path in art and continuing it with utmost quality standards in ideation of form or execution is – almost impossible for any beginner.

The thing is – art can not be measured, it can't be even compared with same ease and standards as design, because there is a value of function in any given design – function in some extent helps to guide the quality of design. However, there is no similar guidance in art and if one does not have an absolutely "clean" and "nutritious" environment in terms of information he's getting, he will fail, simply because the world is so extremelly poluted with "bad" information.

This is why I would invite anybody with creative tendencies and mindset – do not be an arstist, be simply a creative person – which means – learn to think first. Learn to ask the right questions and most importantly – think critically


Creativity has lost its original context and boundaries in art, but we should be grateful to see it in its true contemporary forms – in creative disciplines that bring us excellent products, designs, movies and other stunning examples of the marriage of emotion and intellect.



What is art.

What is art.

Many people wander and try find to the closest and most true description of art – only to end up in long, belletristic sentences that end up being perplexing or not describing anything at all. 

I offer a simple sentence that can be decomposed into specific meanings – Art is an intellectual interpretation of force. 

It is intellectual because we process emotions, feelings and information and integrate it with the help of our cognitive abilities through a process of logical or spontaneous thought.

It is an interpretation of force because we portrait and describe either natural or abstract constants and values which constitute and animate themselves in certain proportions and order, this can result in a painting, mellody, sculpture or an object.

What I mean by the "force" is simply the creative energy decomposed down to an atom that solidifies in objects we recognize or "make up" based on logic or emotional charge. Force is an everchanging, continuous shift of energy that transforms objects and their environment, it is a cohesive process where the smallest particles affect each other and also the grand scheme of the process.

Nature is "made" by shifts of energy, our complex imagination can work similarly and create highly logical and creative outputs that emulate the natural processes in their intricacy and causuality. Said simply – we interpret the force. 

Hopefully this can shed more light into a topic that has become completely fogged and unnecessarily complex.

I will soon follow up the description with my stance on what is art today, undoubtedly an actual and heated theme.