On Design


Poet Pablo Neruda wrote –

To whoever is not listening to the sea
this Friday morning, to who ever is cooped up
in house or office, factory or woman
or street or mine or dry prison cell,
to him I come, and without speaking or looking
I arrive and open the door of his prison.

Design does something very similar. Design communicates ideas. Designers  take the latest technological insight or industry update, and communicate the good news to users in their prison cells and daily lives who haven’t heard of internal combustion engines, Moore’s law, pasteurization or block chains.

Designers mold the context in which products are used. Whether the product gets adopted and becomes successful, or the product does not take off is for the society to decide. Some products come earlier than when a society is ready to accept those, some are late in a pool of substitutes and some products are right on time. Design cannot force a society to accept a product, but design can ask, formulate and answer important questions while molding the user experience around a product.

Design has to balance functionality and emotion. Every product should have music users can listen to. Magic and ambition should be built into products. Make products stand out by making them meaningful. Find new physical and psychological uses for products; sprinkle in magic and ambition.

Humans are complicated beings and hence the inherent need for simplicity in products we use. Design should be simple. Best design is no design.

Good product is a product that lasts. Better a product, longer it will be kept. A good product is good for the earth.

Beautiful product is a cultural nuance. Beauty is a learned appreciation. An osmosis of aesthetics. Beauty is an experiential process.

Design should aspire for surprise, invention, beauty, curiosity, intelligence and joy.

About the author

p m

is a generalist. very lazily believes specialization is for insects.

By p m

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