General Question

tinyfaery's avatar

Is appearance more important than substance.

Asked by tinyfaery (43479points) July 4th, 2008

We live in a world where how things look is often the deciding factor in determining worth. Examples: the way people dress, the way a product (being anything you can buy) is advertised and packaged, what kind of car you drive, etc. How much do you judge things by their outward appearance alone?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

12 Answers

damien's avatar

I like a quote by Jeffrey Zeldman which is kind of along these lines; “Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.”

Although design-oriented, I think that can carry over to a lot of other situations.

The design makes can make it look nice, but it’s what’s inside that counts. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, etc, etc.

thebeadholder's avatar

To me, it seems like appearance is now so much more important than substance to most. I think it depends on the individual. It is substance that matters most to me. Without substance is just plain shallow and I have a hard time relating to those types of people.

tinyfaery's avatar

To all… But do you judge on appearances alone, ever? And in what situations?

wildflower's avatar

Its the result of a society with increased choices, possibilities and options. There’s so much fighting for our attention at any one time. We have more decisions to make and less time to make them.
Because if this, all the things – and people – trying to get attention and/or be chosen, have to up their appeal.
At the same time, because we have to decide so fast, we’re trying to evaluate things quicker and that’s easier to do when things are visually presented to you.

We’re trying to tell people something about who we are by the way we look, because they may not have time to stop and dig deeper to find out.

marinelife's avatar

I have learned not to make a judgment just on appearances.

Take clothing. A gaudy, colorful pattern could run when you washed it. For a piece that lasts and is wearable, you have to go by materials, workmanship, etc.

Or houses. Something that looked wonderful on the outside could have wiring problems, termites, dry rot or toxic mold. Would you buy it without inspection and evaluation? I wouldn’t.

People are the same. I have seen incredibly beautiful people who opened their mouth and had a voice like a braying donkey. Not attractive and not likely to wear well. I have met gorgeous men who were so consumed with their own looks and ego, they had no room for any relationship. Beautiful and rich? Any guys longing to hook up with Brittney Spears or does the lack of brains and the mental illness deter you? Again, not attractive.

People who are powerful can be totally rotten inside.

I don’t accept that looks are the coin of the realm for people, products, etc. How, if that was true, would you explain the success of the Honda Element? :)

wildflower's avatar

I couldn’t possibly determine what a person is like on appearance alone, but I admit I use appearance as an indicator of who may be someone I want to interact with. It’s like shopping for clothes; you don’t stop to look at every item in detail, you seek out certain shapes, sizes, patterns or colors that appeal to you and look closer at those. Same thing with people. I wouldn’t be able to connect with every single person I come across, so I seek out those that appeal to me and that appeal is their appearance. Whether it’s their clothes, hair, smile, bodylanguage or eye contact.

Spargett's avatar

Cant there be a balance of the two?

I understand that its morally inapropriate to judge a book by its cover, but in the real world, its an important skill to have.

As far as which is more important, that’s all relative to the context.

willbrawn's avatar

random thought while reading this thread. I’m all about not looking like a slob. But something that gets me is when poorer people dress like rock stars. I guess they just want to be accepted but if its between getting out of the slums and buying the next Jordans I’ll pick the first one.

marinelife's avatar

@willbrawn Let me see. Only people who deserve it by, uh, acquiring wealth should look good? You, on the other hand, can and should buy whatever you want.

mcbealer's avatar

For a lot of people, yes. Look at all the SUV drivers who don’t really need a vehicle of that size/power. Look at Apple’s continued success with re-release of products which have the same functionality but have been revamped appearance-wise.

Cardinal's avatar

Appearance means very little. Substance is all important. I think, many times these two go hand in hand.

scamp's avatar

First impression or as you say “outward appearance” often tells me if I want to look deeper into something or someone. But I do look deeper before making a final decision.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther