What better place to begin a design-related blog than to start a conversation about the nature and purpose of design? According everyone’s favorite dictionary, the Merriam-Webster, DESIGN means to:
- create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan
- have as a purpose
- to devise for a specific function or end
- to indicate with a distinctive mark, sign, or name
- make a drawing, pattern, or sketch of
- draw the plans for
- draw, lay out, or prepare a design
Each of those definitions sounds appropriate and accurate to me, as definitions go. But if I could be so presumptuous as to add to this very thorough list, I would also note a few of my own thoughts about Design – those things that intrigue both designers and non-designers alike.
DESIGN, it seems, is the ultimate in accessibility. There is something engaging about a process that allows us to communicate with one another across cultures and often beyond language. DESIGN enables individuals and organizations to summarize who they are and what they’re about in a non-verbal way. It’s the ultimate communication tool for a wallflower. It may take the form of a logo, a built environment, or a product…anything that expresses the intended message.
Most importantly, I believe DESIGN allows each of us the opportunity to continuously explore just a little bit more of who we are – in all of our simplicity and complexity. On a blank sheet of paper, everyone is afforded the freedom to experiment without consequence, taking on fears and testing out the ‘what-ifs’. If you ask me, and I know you were about to, this may be the one thing that those of us who do this thing called Design for a living take for granted.
So take a few minutes to think about your definition of DESIGN and test out your own ‘what ifs’. And the next time someone asks you to ‘Tell me about yourself’, give them an answer Designed for you.