Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What is Design?

It's not that there is a problem defining "design" - it's that there is an overabundance of definitions of design. Warren Berger, in his book "Glimmer" provides not only helpful definitions of design but helps the reader move beyond understanding design as only about style.

With contributions from designers around the world, most notably Bruce Mau, Berger developed ten principles, divided into four segments. These principles begin with a few basic design principles that can be used by anyone for any purpose - but also form the building blocks for the sections to follow. Listed below is an outline of the principles; for more details see the website.

The Glimmer Principles

  • Ask stupid questions

  • Jump fences

  • Make hope visible


  • Go deep

  • Work the metaphor

  • Design what you do


  • Face consequences

  • Embrace constraints


  • Design for emergence

  • Begin anywhere

Whether it's applied to business, social, or personal challenges, design thinking opens up new avenues of progress, suggesting fresh answers to old and difficult questions. It's about infinite possibilities - and more importantly, it's about optimism.

What if we looked at the world as a design project - how might we begin to make it better?

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