[1/?] Form vs. function - why not both? “Human Rosa, we’ve reviewed your designs for the new ship. We just have a few questions.” “Right. I’m sure you wanna know about the engine design — but I promise you the math checks out.” “No, we’ve checked the math; it’s very good. But Section 45GHJ1: why does some of it curve and taper? If it did not, you could get 20% more space for crew quarters and storage."
[2/?] “Aerodynamics?” “Aero— Human Rosa, this ship will not be entering or exiting any planetary atmospheres. It’s a space ship.” “Well, yeah, I guess if you wanna go for the Borg Cube vibe, sure.” “Borg Cube?” “Never mind. But this just looks better. Trust me, way more badass.” “Right. Thank you, Human Rosa. We will let you know our decision at a later date.”
[3/3] “At least this design didn’t have flames on it like Human Bobby’s did.” “Flames, sir? Physics notwithstanding, why flames?” “Not real ones. Apparently Human Bobby wanted to paint a representation of them on the hull. Said they would ‘look cool.’” “Cool, sir? Doesn’t that mean, in human temperature descriptors—" “Yes, I know. I’m as baffled as you are.”
This is really interesting because it’s pretty accurate–a lot of things we build have to balance form and function, because it we think it’s super ugly, we often don’t want to use it as much. If we have to, of course we can survive with only functional things. But given the chance, we want things that are visually/aesthetically pleasing in some way.
Humans like art, and we like to feel that our space is personalized in some way. I have my own office at work and have done very little decorating, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it actually looks less professional than my coworkers’ because there is little personalization and you don’t see much of my personality even though the space is fully functional.
Or look at book covers (which I do, a lot). Design trends change: when I was going through a ton of donations, I started playing a game called “what year was this published?” and I was often within about 5 years just based on the cover design. With fiction books especially, we often rely on the cover to attract us and communicate information. There are definite differences between the cover of a somewhat realistic story about two people falling in love, and the cover of a book about a half-dragon girl caught in political intrigue. Nonfiction books are even trickier–I see a lot of books that have very interesting descriptions but are have little to draw attention; gray-toned covers with stark white fonts look dry and unappealing.