Input. Process. Output.

Energy flow pattern for mapping.

Each element in a system is like a logic gate that determines whether energy will pass through it or be terminated by it and what the process leading to that conclusion is.

As more energy flows through components, the functional requirements may change. This can be due to requirements reflected as parameters of the environment or as natural evolution due to the evolving interactions and connections with surrounding and accommodating elements.

Looking at the energy flow pattern as being three modes - Input, Process and Output.

Each element’s energy requirements can be designated into these areas and optimised accordingly. Inputs should optimise for process and process should optimise for output, with outputs passing on what is required as an input for the next element in the chain of events.

This energy flow has a lot to do with the functionality that we are designing for and therefore can be designated ahead of designing pixels to lead said pixels into a functional form based on the energy flows through components and the system as a whole.


Inputs should be optimised as energy flows through them. This allows for the process to take exactly what it requires to do its job without having to sort through extra information that is not required at the time of its operation.

Process should perform the single most important task that it is designated to do. Inside this process should be optimisation strategies to allow for handoff to output to be the most succinct and meaningful form.

Output is primarily concerned with handing off exactly what is required for the next link in a chain of events. Having been already optimised it is more about a formative operation, ensuring that it contains all that the process has provided.

Energy. Function. Form.

Another way to look at this pattern is in the way that form of components is realised. As form should follow the function that dictates how the component will operate, the function also requires energy for its process to activate and operate.

In this way the energy that feeds into a system or individual components can be considered and optimised according to what the following function requires to perform its optimal process to output its designated form.

With design thinking, form derived from function is key to successful components and systems. Something that can be overlooked is the requirements for the function to operate. This is where energy comes in as another piece in the equation to observe and consider if the energy form is right for the functional processes to do their thing.