My Design Philosophy
Beliefs about Design
The phrase that “design is never done” is true because Design is a moving target. The context in which design lives in is constantly changing making design a complex, messy and never-ending process.
Out of the many definitions of design, my favorite is “design is being intentional about something”. When we say “...is by design”, what we really mean is that the choice to do that was intentional. Designers do this by making deliberate choices that achieve a particular quality or outcome.
I admire Dieter Rams' design philosophy. It calls for designs that produce long-lasting outcomes. Rams says, “Good design is simple.” Simple doesn’t mean simplistic; simple means removing anything that distracts people from what they intend to do. Simple design gives the illusion of ease and effortlessness.
Other reflections on design from seminal texts and personal experiences
Art is self-serving, Design is others-serving
Design must speak to the goals of affected people and business. When design encapsulates self-expression over people and business, it becomes more art.
Uncover the core problem(s)
More often than not, what we deem as problems are mere symptoms of deeper problems. We must continually explore to identify the reasons why a problem is a problem.
Not only plumbers plumb, not only designers design
Teams have an accumulation of different backgrounds, personal experiences, and knowledge that forms a unique perspective and understanding about the problem space. Through collaboration, ideas reach their true potential. Good teams = Good products.
Learn from subject matter experts
Designers cannot solve problems alone with their own toolsets. They need to collaborate with subject matter experts. This can be anyone; everyone is a subject matter expert in something.
Learn about people directly affected by Design
Designers need to understand the intended and unintended consequenses of their designs on for the people they’re designing for.
What's best for the people directly affected by design should guide the project.
Use Design Judgement
Without judgment, our lives will be a mess of information resulting in decision paralysis (Nelson and Stolterman, 2012). To overcome this, designers define scope. Without scope, we would never know when to stop researching or exploration.
Judgment comes from the accumulated experience of the designer.
Every design project encompasses learning-in-action and learning-on-action (Schön, 1987). In other words, every design project is a learning experience. Designers should reflect in the moment as well as after the fact to improve their craft.