Vi Le

The word “Functionminism” is a combination of functional and minimal design

Functional design – Form follows function.

The term “form follows function” was coined by Louis Sullivan an American architect. His concept was to remind us about our audience and the purpose that defines the look and shape of the objects.

Louis Henry Sullivan (1856-1924) was called the “father of skyscrapers” and “father of modernism” Sullivan developed the shape of the tall steel skyscraper in late 19th Century Chicago at the very moment when technology, taste and economic forces converged and made it necessary to drop the established styles of the past.

Minimal design

Minimalism is the term that is used often in design and architecture, where it describes the act of eliminating unnecessary element to the extreme simplicity whether in form or functionality.

This tactic will be or has been used by other people in almost every professions, especially creative industries.



I personally have applied this tactic in my design from last year when my design style has already defined. This tactic helps me or the ones that use constantly think about the purpose of their designs, about the intended users.


The simplicity and functional design will draw users attention easily. The best explanation for a product is when it is designed to concentrate on the functions and has the minimum of features.

A great example for this clarity value is to look at the ad of Samsung Galaxy S phones and Apple iPhones.

Samsung shows what Galaxy phone has by listing its features whilst iPhone often show what it can do for its customers by listing the functions. In addition, iPhone’s features were mostly discovered by users (iPhones has no manual).

My design process is much more clarified when applying this strategy. It also helps to focus on the product’s goal at any stage of design.


The ease of manufacturing is the key to any product design project. “Functionminism” keeps the manufacturing cost down with the simple design theory that follows functions. Therefore, lowering the cost of engineering in placing architecture of internal parts.

Implementing “functionminism” tactic into design process

As mentioned above, I use this tactic from the beginning of my design process

Researching – Functional Design

From the very first stage of design process, the right purpose of existence for a product should be found by understand who would be the intended users, how and why they would use it.

Ideating – Minimal Design

After getting the purposes for the product, ideation is the stage where I eliminate all the unnecessary features. Implementing the minimal design method to generate creative sketches with simple aesthetics that follows functionalities.

My specialisation are sketching and creating interesting forms by applying this method into the initial brief for every project. The following process is to choose the best threes for finalising

Developing – “Functionminism”

The secondary research will be taken from here to understand more about the product itself and the technologies could be built into the product.

“Functionminism” is vital for this final stage where engineering is the most expensive process in designing. There are plenty of things that should be taken into account such as materials, method of manufacturing, internal fastenings, etc.

“Design is not just how it looks like, design is how it works”Steve Jobs

This quote from Steve and his work to make Apple as great till today is my inspiration. My goal within product design is to create products that will be made and used. I question myself constantly in every design project about who, how, why my design will be used.

Design is a relationship between users with problems to solve and designers with the best solution to offer.

This article is about Dieter Rams, it also consists of 4 design case studies about Dieter Rams’ products. The simple design in all of his products based on the principle of functionalism and minimalism have purposes in choosing the colours, materials and where the parts of that product are located, etc. His aims are always remove the unnecessary and put the essential in the spotlight.

Norman doors

The article is about the Norman doors that we have all experienced with, they are doors that have handles on both sides and make us confused whether to push or pull. An interview about Don Norman, who discovered those poorly design doors and later did a research about them to solve the problem by putting a plate on the push side. Those doors were named after him.



The memobottle was designed by Jesse Leeworthy, an Industrial Designer graduated from Swinburne uni. The memobottle is a perfect example for “form follows function” and simple design. Their goals are to reduce the one-use water bottles and to design a bottle that can fit in small bags.


This product series were created by a Singaporean student. It helps disabled people who have only one hand wash dishes and prepare food easier. The way users interact with kitchenware is different. Thus, the forms are so much different to the conventional products to adapt to the intended functions of the products.

Contact Details

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