Bee Inspired, This Designer's Mentor

Jade Stevens - Designer


When you walk around the neighborhood park, what do you notice? Well, usually we notice the flowers, the birds, and of course, for less than pleasant reasons, the bees! But the bee, in its own right, is actually a designer's dream! Allow me to explain.

The term busy bee wasn't coined by accident, and our ecosystem depends on the active role bees play in our environment. For example, let's look at the design of the beehive. Its features include complex engineering and mathematics. This is shown with the use of the hexagon shaped honey comb, including the slopes of tubes that prevent loss of honey. This design perspective is difficult to come up with by chance, hence, mathematicians and architects have studied the geometry and engineering skills displayed in the honeycomb for over 2,000 years! The only patterns that allow all walls to be shared are the triangle, square, or hexagon, and of these, the hexagon uses less wax in construction for the volume of honey stored. There appears to be strong intelligent design that achieves the best possible outcome in the production process. All designers appreciate ideas based on intelligent  design and pragmatic use.

Other fascinating attributes of the bee that in inspire and motivate a designer could be their electrostatic charge that enables the ease of pollen collection and their internal barometer that allows them to know when it will rain. Anticipation of an oncoming "storm" would be incredibly beneficial for a designer, and an internal wiring to make all jobs go smoothly would be priceless! As well, the bee's ability to communicate through dance to let other bees know where food is, and the direction and distance to that food, is simply stunning. They can even communicate through dance in the dark! Wouldn't I love to communicate with such precision and clarity.

Also, designers can learn a lot from bees in the sense that everything in a design has a purpose and contributes to the end result. Every design is as strong as its weakest part, but when even the weakest is strong, we have a great thing! When approaching a design, we must keep in mind the vision of the project, the communication, the creative process, and the focus on team work. No doubt about it, the bee is this designer's mentor.