Technical knowledge isn’t enough. You need good taste to design beautiful things.

People across a range of fields use the word beautiful to describe work that is good. Surely there’s some overlap in what they mean. How can we figure out what this overlap is so we could better understand how to design beautiful things?

People like to think that taste is subjective, and that there’s no “right answer”. It probably feels this way to them because when they like something, they have no idea why. Their thoughts are just a tangle of unexamined impulses.

Saying that taste is just personal preference is a good way to prevent disputes. The trouble is, it's not true. You feel this when you start to design things.

Once you start to examine the question, it's surprising how much different fields' ideas of beauty have in common. The same principles of good design crop up again and again.