Japanese design principles

The Zen principles of Aesthetics are derived from the Buddhism beliefs of Anicca or Impermanence where “everything, without exception, is constantly in flux, even planets, stars and gods”. (Wikipedia)


FUKINSEI (imbalanced)
Asymmetry, odd numbers, irregularity, unevenness, imbalance is used as a denial of perfection as perfection and symmetry does not occur in nature.

KANSO (simple)
Elimination of ornate and things of simplicity by nature expresses their truthfulness. Neat, frank and uncomplicated.

KOKOU (austere)
Basic, weathered bare essentials that are aged and unsensuous. Evokes sternness, forbiddance, maturity and weight.

SHIZEN (natural)
Raw, natural and unforced creativity without pretence. True naturalness is to negate the naive and accidental.

YUGEN (subtle profound)
Suggest and not reveal layers of meaning hidden within. Invisible to the casual eye and avoiding the obvious.

DATSUZOKU (unworldly)
Transcendence of conventional and traditional. Free from the bondage of laws and restrictions. True creativity.

SEIJAKU (calm)
Silence and tranquility, blissful solitude. Absence of disturbance and noise from one’s mind, body and surroundings.

Source: Aen Direct

(via Thinkingalaud)

12 Comments leave a comment below

  1. Beautiful and poignant.

  2. I’ll bet some of those characters would make a great tatoo

  3. Ha ha, Eric. Or at least I hope that’s a joke? There are way too many non-Japanese (and Chinese, I’d imagine) readers with flipped/incorrect/nonsense characters tattooed on their bodies. Check with someone who knows before taking the plunge!

  4. what about “wabi”, roughly meaning finding beauty in imperfection, especially of handmade objects.

  5. this must be for Japanese product design which is impeccable. I’d love to see a list of Japanese principles for web design which is pretty crazy.

  6. actually these principles aren’t limited to product design (and of course design in itself) =)

    you can apply it everywhere

  7. Thank you for sharing this, and the other hundreds of inspirational posts, each year.

    Very glad I discovered your blog!


  8. Something new I learned today. Thanks.

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