I recall a moment in architecture school when a professor succinctly pointed out that a diagram is an illustration of a concept.
Drawing objects isn't too hard, but illustrating a concept is always evasive. Think of playing Pictionary: It’s generally not a problem to quickly draw something (a noun) that already has imagery associated with it, say a bicycle, or an apple. But now try something more abstract; happiness, or simple, or complex.
The image above is my attempt to illustrate our concept of “tectonic.” Since we use this word so much in our product nomenclature; I figured that I better try to diagram it. And since we promised you a definition, I’ll add some words to supplement the diagram. The word tectonic generally pertains to the large plates which slowly drag the continents’ around the earth; but we prefer the definition used by Robert Maulden in 1986. Maulden explained that:
Tectonics [is] the science or art of construction, both in relation to use and artistic design." It refers not just to the "activity of making the materially requisite construction that answers certain needs, but rather to the activity that raises this construction to an art form. It is concerned with the modeling of material to bring the material into presence: from the physical into the meta-physical world.
At Eric Jacoby Design, we extend the definition to mean the aesthetic of our products which simply diagrams the way they are built, and we do this by using the different systems as the language describing the individual and collective functionality.