Why Design?

“Questions are places in your mind where answers fit. If you haven’t asked the question, the answer has nowhere to go. It hits your mind and bounces right off. You have to ask the question – you have to want to know – in order to open up the space for the answer to fit.” – Clayton Christensen

When learning, you must question before you can receive an answer. This lesson, we explore problem solving, finding your own voice, and growing as a designer. Each task has a perspective to consider, but ultimately you must find your own perspective.

  1. What Is Design?

    Watch Frank Chimero, author of The Shape of Design, reflect on how to think about design, what it means to delight audiences, and realize nourishment in our lives (42 minutes). Frank goes through the philosophy, history, and anthropology of design to arrive at a clear working definition (hint: It’s a vessel). Write your own working definition down. How has it changed over time?

  2. What do you stand for?

    Watch Maciej Cegłowski, founder of Pinboard, share his inspiration for independence in Thoreau 2.0 (20 minutes). Maciej’s has knack for making you take a step back and reconsider The Why, while making you laugh. Take a moment to question your own principles and reconsider how independent you can really be.

  3. What’s your purpose?

    Watch Chase Adams from Y Combinator’s first non-profit, Watsi, tell their origin story (26 minutes). Chase overcame huge obstacles in the traditionally stale non-profit world by forging a unique path. Consider how redefining success might allow you to achieve it. How do you find something to work on where it’s impossible to fail?

  4. What’s your responsibility?

    Watch Mike Monteiro, Director of Mule Design, show How Designers Destroyed the World (48 minutes). Consider the broad impact of your work and think about the dangers of thoughtlessness.

  5. How might you resist?

    Read “Resistance” from artist and creative director Paul Soulellis as he discusses scenes from his counter-practice (1 hour). Paul’s journey serves as a fantastic reflection on design culture and how he chose to opt-out in favor of something truly different. Ask yourself, are you truly satisfied with the status quo?

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