Form Over Function?

art of encore living personal development Aug 29, 2022

What matters more, the way something looks or whether or not it achieves its intended purpose?

Based on the amount of time, attention, money, and effort being invested in the look of most brands' products, services, sites, and social media, the clear winner appears to be form.

Even independent coaches, freelancers, and entrepreneurs like you and me seem to be caught up in a frenzy to place looking good over doing good.

But a look at where the debate over form and function began illuminates there's a much better approach.

The argument over which matters more, form or function, began in the world of architecture when the "father of skyscrapers," Louis Sullivan, coined the term "form ever follows function."

What did he mean?

Sullivan actually derived his idea from an ancient Roman architect and engineer, Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, who asserted in his book De architectura that a structure must exhibit the three qualities of firmitas, utilitas, venustas — that is, it must be solid, useful, and beautiful.

The rise of form puts the last step first.

Don't get me wrong. Having a well-designed cover and spell-checked and grammatically correct content matters if you write a book. But if the ideas in that book don't connect with your intended audience and move them in the way you intended, your beautiful wrapper and pregnant prose are all for naught.

It's not that form doesn't matter at all. It doesn't matter if you don't have a solid offer that is useful for the intended user and gets the job done efficiently and effectively.

If you're trying to make a difference as an independent coach, consultant, or creative, your function is to make change happen with and for those you seek to serve.

Your time, attention, or effort in crafting your branding, site design, marketing funnel, and social media presence is about form.

Putting form ahead of function impedes your ability to make a difference and make a living (which only amplifies the difficulty you have making a difference).

Which are you spending more time, attention, and effort on, form or function? How much more? How can you do a better job getting form to ever follow function?


Scott Perry, Encore Life Coach at The Art of Encore Living

If this resonates, please share it with a friend!