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Wabi Sabi approach to design

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Nothing is perfect on the web. We are always changing, growing, and evolving. From the responsive design approach, the various available devices, the growing demographics of our audience, and the constant progression of technology; it’s time we have a Wabi-Sabi perspective of the web.

Wabi-sabi (???) represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.


During the 1990s the concept was borrowed by computer software developers and employed in Agile programming and Wiki to describe acceptance of the state of ongoing imperfection that is the product of these methods.

As a designer, I believe it’s important to accept the constant changing elements of the web. By focusing on a solid process that allows for quick prototyping along with making foundational design decisions that have proven the test of time (such as: typefaces, grids, golden ratios); the ever-evolving imperfect web we are designing for will hold a timeless solidarity that will be more open and flexible to change.

The web is in a constant flux of change and impermanence. Design must be able to evolve and change with the web quickly and progressively. The closer we move towards a responsive and adaptive web, the more we must embrace a wabi-sabi philosophy with design.