The Role of Aesthetics in Engineering

Keywords engineering aesthetics aesthetics aesthetic appeal engineering
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Engineering involvement with aesthetics is vital for the creation of innovative and successful products in today’s fast changing world. This paper discusses the nature of this involvement, and goes further to argue that aesthetics plays a central role in the creative process itself. Thus, if engineers are involved in the creation of products, or if they wish to become more creative, it is important that they be sensitive to the aesthetic implications of their work and also to their personal aesthetic capabilities. This paper will also examine a few of the reasons why the importance of aesthetics is difficult for the engineering profession to acknowledge.
The source of this thesis is the design program at Stanford University. For almost 40 years, the Design Division of Mechanical Engineering has worked together with the Department of Art to offer a Joint Program in Design. The central philosophy of this continuing collaboration is that successful products require the synthesis of art and technology. Further, we believe that engineers who are equally sympathetic to technological and human concerns in their work will be best prepared to take leadership positions in industry.

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Prof. Rolf A. Faste
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