Defining Design

18 Dec 2005|Added Value

I just read Niti Bhan’s provocation on the benefit of design councils on CPH127. While some success is apparent in other countries, I think that the ability of the US to establish a successful national design council could be challenging at best.

While we Americans may be becoming more sophisticated in our appreciation of attractively executed products, I’m not sure that we generally agree on what constitutes good design, or design in general.

I’m a fan of Steve Jobs definition of Design with a big “D”… “Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.” At the heart of this definition is the person – the human. And implicit is a respect for the user. Without that component, a product, service or brand cannot claim to be well designed.

All other more controversial opinions aside, just the size and complexity of the US and our government would seem to provide the most substantial obstacle to a focus on the human component of good design. To both agree on a definition of design and include user experience as a success criteria is indeed a challenge for a group of any size, let alone a first world government.

Let’s let Apple and others continue to do what they do best and let the users decide if they’ve earned the seal of approval.

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