What may seem like an oxymoron is actually an intentional play on words and Pelago’s tagline. Afterall, we usually think of design being the realm of creativity and engineering being confined to logic. We’ve found that describing our agency as one that provides logical design & creative engineering better illustrates our approach to client projects and to Intervals, our hosted project management software. What exactly does that mean?
They may not be willing to admit it, but all designers have to work within constraints. The clients budget dictates how many colors you can use on their business card. The web designer is limited by screen resolution and the bland squareness of the pixel. A designer becomes logical when she recognizes her constraints and finds ways to flourish within them or challenges them with something fresh and new. I’ve seen graphic designers to amazing things when limited to only two colors, and web designers push the digital boundaries of the screen beyond CSS limitations and bland photoshop filters. While new design trends come and go they are constantly pushing and redefining the boundaries of creativity, but they will always be rooted in the logical limitations of their respective medium.
Engineering can be a rigid process. Although there are several methodologies and languages to choose from, they can all be boiled down the basic programming concepts and design patterns. And now the abundance of lightweight MVC frameworks makes engineering even easier, by reducing and removing much of the redundancy that has plagued programmers for so long. But the tools we have to work with aren’t always enough to get the job done. There are numerous examples on the web and at our own agency where programmers have had to step outside the bounds and incorporate ideas that would make MacGyver weep. The creative engineer is one who disobeys the restraints of the framework or conventional coding wisdom to get the application running faster while reducing its footprint on the server.
In an abstract sense, designers and engineers can learn a lot from one another. They both been trained to approach a problem from a certain angle to find a solution. It’s when you take an engineers approach to design, and a designers approach to engineering, that the work being produced enters a parallel plane. Consistent collaboration between designers and engineers is something we have advocated since day one at Pelago, and it’s something we’ll continue to advocate it to other like-minded web design and development agencies.