Millennial Exploration of Good Design

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  • Title: Millennial Exploration of Good Design: Perceptions of the Elements of Design through Images and Language
  • Author(s): Gus Vouchilas, Connie Ulasewicz
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Image
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of the Image
  • Keywords: Millennial Design Perceptions, Design Elements, Design Language, Design Image
  • Volume: 8
  • Issue: 4
  • Year: 2017
  • ISSN: 2154-8560 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2154-8579 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Vouchilas, Gus, and Connie Ulasewicz. 2017. "Millennial Exploration of Good Design: Perceptions of the Elements of Design through Images and Language." The International Journal of the Image 8 (4): 39-50. doi:10.18848/2154-8560/CGP/v08i04/39-50.
  • Extent: 12 pages


This research explored young adult millennial student perceptions of good design and the extent to which the elements of design were reflected in the determination. The sample, sixty-five young adult millennials between twenty-two and thirty-four, derived from students studying design at a west coast US university. Access to students was through the researchers who posted a link to the survey on course online learning platforms. The instrument asked the respondent to take a photo of any object considered to be good design. Photo documentation offered familiar expression and individual voice regarding design perceptions. The student uploaded the image to the survey and then provided responses to quantitative and qualitative questions. These responses were intended to elicit design element perceptions, including identification of elements most and least representative of good design. Color, texture, and mass/form were most frequently selected as least or most representative of good design. Good design was often described without using the fundamental elements of design as descriptors. The majority described good design based on object functionality, material use, simplicity, and the overall design result rather than focusing on the design elements. The image, as a learning methodology, is a powerful approach to analyzing good design. Assigning photo documentation of design along with descriptions of elements will lead to a greater understanding of these very fundamental design aspects. Providing millennials the opportunity to engage in learning about design using an approach to which they easily relate is vital to their success in articulating thoughts about and beyond the image.