What is Design?

4 May

I love design. My definition: Design is how something looks and functions. I did an Internet search and found lots of definitions of design, some are good and some are terrible.

What is design?

  • Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.- Steve Jobs
  • Design: to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan
  • Good design is about looking at everyday things with new eyes and working out how they can be made better. It is about challenging existing technology. – James Dyson, Inventor
  • Design is the conscious decision-making process by which information (an idea) is transformed into an outcome, be it tangible (product) or intangible (service).
  • Design is that area of human experience, skill and knowledge which is concerned with man’s ability to mould his environment to suit his material and spiritual needs. – Leonard Bruce Archer, Royal College of Art
  • Design is the process of finding the most elegant answer to the question of ‘how do I…? – Paul ‘Scrivs’ Scrivens
  • Design is what links creativity and innovation. It shapes ideas to become practical and attractive propositions for users or customers. Design may be described as creativity deployed to a specific end. – Sir George Cox
  • Designing is the process of converting information that characterizes the needs and requirements for a product into knowledge about a product.
  • A plan for arranging elements in such a way as to best accomplish a particular purpose. – Charles Eames, Architect
  • Design is concerned with the question “will this work for people?
  • Design is the application of creativity to planning the optimum solution of a given problem and the communication of that plan to others.
  • Design is the conscious, deliberate process by which elements, components, potentials, tendencies, etc. are intentionally arranged in the space‐time continuum in order to achieve a desired result. – E. Christopher Mare, Village Design Institute
  • Design is coupling knowledge and technology with creativity, in activities that predict and control an outcome.
  • Design is the process of creating some new version of something as well as something new. -Bill Moggridge Director, Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
  • Design is a process especially suited to divergent thinking—the exploration of new choices and alternative solutions. – Tim Brown, IDEO
  • Design = creative problem-solving
  • Design is directed toward human beings. To design is to solve human problems by identifying them and executing the best solution. – Ivan Cermayeff

The worst article on design is on Wikipedia.

50+ Excellent Posters about Design
Do you Know “What is Design?” 41 Answers to One Simple Question

Suggested readings
Dieter Rams: Ten Principles for good design


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