Old reference to a bad movie, Batman or Superman, sacrificing one is pretty stupid.
Let’s start with defining which is which, not Batman or Superman! Function is the reason why Graphic Design exists in the first place, Aesthetic response is a human reaction, it is how a design appears and appeals to the human eye.
We can argue two sides:
- both are as equally important and
- function overweights aesthetics
Aesthetic and Function are as important
I personally belong in this category, I believe a functional design work that does not have aesthetic appeal just exists somewhere in the limbo, it works but nobody uses it, nobody is attracted to it. Can it be called a design if it has no aesthetic qualities? And can it really have 0 aesthetic qualities? Some design styles are not aesthetically pleasing for wide masses of people such as Brutalist designs or currently trendy Y2K style, but they still have a certain aesthetic which might not be in line with all of the design elements and principles.
Here we could argue that beauty is in the eye of a beholder, assuming it already was functional, nothing was sacrificed, aesthetic was created to appeal to a niche group of people. I am not necessarily a propagator of “beauty is in the eye of a beholder” when it comes to design, but I do understand stepping out of the box and purposefully creating ugly designs to shock and attract. Its function is clear: to be ugly and shocking.
Function before looks
It is understandable to argue this side as without function everything designed is not actually designed but rather an artistic expression. It is a thin line between abstraction and art, however to be considered design it has to be functional which is why I believe both function and aesthetics are equally important. A posters function is to visually represent a movie or a concert, Google ads banners function is to promote a product, service or a brand, App’s function is whatever app’s function is, and aesthetic is a medium it is delivered in, a way to filter out a niche public, a way to appeal to masses or a certain groups of people.
It’s fax, no printer that you need to pay attention to both if your goal is to take W. Aesthetics and functions are as important, No cap.