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Design Matters

  • Date Submitted: 09/16/2013 03:55 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 45.3 
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What design is and why it matters
By Mat Hunter, Chief Design Officer
There are countless definitions of design, as you might expect of a creative endeavour. Some aim to categorise design, to explain how it is different from or related to other activities, while others try to inspire good design.
Here’s a simple definition from our former Chairman, Sir George Cox in the Cox Review:
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.’The Cox Review
Most of the results of design are visible, and that lends itself to another simple definition: ‘Design is all around you, everything man-made has been designed, whether consciously or not’.
The question therefore isn't so much 'what is design and why does it matter?' but 'how can I use good design to make the world around me better?'
How is design different from other activities?
Perhaps the most obvious attribute of design is that it makes ideas tangible, it takes abstract thoughts and inspirations and makes something concrete. In fact, it’s often said that designers don’t just think and then translate those thoughts into tangible form, they actually think through making things. This ability to make new ideas real from an early stage in developing products or services means that they have a greater chance of becoming successful more quickly.
Another, sometimes less obvious, attribute of design is that it is human-centred. Designers are sometimes caricatured as self-obsessed, but the truth is that really great designers care hugely about the real people who will use the product, service, building or experience they are developing. This focus on users inspires great ideas and ensures that solutions meet real needs, whether the users are fully aware of them or not.
This pragmatic process of making ideas tangible and then trying them out with users means that design...

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