Learn From The Best Designer in the Universe

Mother Nature has always been an inimitable artist. Now, with biomimicry, she’s teaching businesses a thing or two about great design.

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Leonardo da Vinci learnt the Golden Ratio from her. Antoni Gaudi simply reproduced her work in Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia. At Headless Hippies, we aren’t the first to believe that Mother Nature is the finest artist in the universe; but ever since Janine Benyus gave her revolutionary TED talk on the potential of biomimicry, Nature’s flawless design solutions are being applied in fields as diverse as automobile design to wind energy.

When we’re at the drawing board, tossing around ideas for brand identities, packaging and the like, we increasingly find ourselves asking, “How would Nature approach this?” We’ve experimented with different design ideologies since we first started out, fuelled by tea and temerity, but with biomimicry, we’ve found our true north. Here’s why:

Nature never designs for beauty alone

Once you’re done sniggering at the bird of paradise’s hopeful hopping and grappling with the orchid mantis’ deceptive design, consider this: they’re not good looking just for the sake of it. After all, it’s called the survival of the fittest, not the prettiest. Clients often come knocking for an attractive logo or package, but design isn’t about aesthetics alone. It should solve a problem, tell a story, or communicate an idea. In Nature, every design serves a purpose. Why should it be any different in business?

Every design fits into an eco-system

Nature’s great at always looking at the bigger picture. Each creation serves a greater purpose while playing a unique role. We like how Swarm Technology, for example, was inspired by the collective intelligence of a colony of insects to connect IoT devices. At Headless Hippies, we take our cue from Nature and prefer to look at a design not in isolation, but as a part of a client’s business ecosystem.

Design should adapt and evolve

All of Nature’s designs are works in progress. We might not have the luxury of a million years (or minutes) to work on a design, so we’ve cherry-picked Nature’s principle of adaptivity. Here’s a design that we did for Changemaker Schools. Using the key elements of the main logo, we created a collection of mini logos that will be customised to different environments, from classrooms to conferences. Mother Nature would be proud.

Sustainability is key

Nothing ever goes to waste in Nature’s design, and even the by-products help continue the cycle of life. That’s why we’re tipping our hat (yes, even though we’re Headless), to Ecovative’s Mushroom Materials for ingeniously using mycelium to create eco-friendly packaging that doesn’t scrimp on quality and utility. Ikea’s taken note of them too, which means there’s still hope for our planet.

Nature’s design has no expiry date

Unless the Earth’s faced with a cataclysmic event (like the once that wiped out the dinosaurs), Nature’s designs are enduring creations that only get better with time. Over millennia, sharkskin has evolved to become free of microorganisms. Now, inspired by Nature’s design, a company called Sharklet Technologies is creating bacteria– resistant material that can be used everywhere from hospitals and restaurants, minimising the use of chemicals. And that’s just one of the ways Nature’s design wisdom is being harnessed.

We’ve come a long way in design, but perhaps it’s time to go back to the beginning. After all, Nature does have 3.8 billion years of research behind her. And, as any good marketer knows, there’s really no substitute for experience.

While you’re here, check out some of our Nature-inspired designs: