Why does beauty matter? Why do we enjoy it? Why do we value it so much? These questions have been investigated in many disciplines and several theories have been proposed to answer them. In this blog we will address them from the point of view of the importance of aesthetic experience in our daily life. We will try to convince our readers that beauty matters because it helps us to think and decide in a better way by improving our ability to represent and understand complex problems.

The City Rises – Umberto Boccioni (1910)
Brionvega cube radio by Marco Zanuso e Richard Sapper (1964)

The key question we are really interested in is: when is beautiful also good? We will show that elegance is the key aesthetic attribute to combine form with function. Our theory can be summarized into three principles:

Elegant representations (of a problem) are conducive to more effective solutions

Elegance is achieved when a design is effectively complex, meaning
not too predictable, not too confusing

Elegant design maximises performance by reducing the amount of information we need to process as users

We will use this blog to demonstrate the validity of these principles by sharing evidence and theories from a variety of fields, and primarily from cognitive science and neuroscience. We can apply these principles to almost anything that has been designed with a specific purpose, as an answer to a question and as a solution to a problem.

Let’s the journey begin:

  • In re-flections we report our observation, thinking, and research on the practical value of aesthetic experience
  • In the science of elegance we review research and findings about how and why aesthetic reasoning works
  • In visual re-view we choose and reference elegant or inelegant artefacts including artwork, products, texts, but also social objects such as conversations, laws, policies, debates
  • In the beauty of complexity we post about how aesthetic thinking can help us to cope with and resolve complexity using examples mainly from art, narrative, and philosophy