creation of a plan or convention for the construction of an object or a system; process of creation; act of creativity and innovation

Design is the planning that lays the basis for the making of every object or system.

Design is how it works.
- Steve Jobs, 2003
CONTENT : A - F , G - L , M - R , S - Z , See also , External links



A - F

  • The urge for good design is the same as the urge to go on living. The assumption is that somewhere, hidden, is a better way of doing things.
    • Attributed to Harry Bertoia, Knoll Design, p. 66 in: Carlotte & Peter Fiell (2005) 1000 Chairs. Introduction
  • As a noun, design is the named (although sometimes unnamable) structure or behavior of a system whose presence resolves or contributes to the resolution of a force or forces on that system. A design thus represents one point in a potential decision space. A design may be singular (representing a leaf decision) or it may be collective (representing a set of other decisions).
As a verb, design is the activity of making such decisions. Given a large set of forces, a relatively malleable set of materials, and a large landscape upon which to play, the resulting decision space may be large and complex. As such, there is a science associated with design (empirical analysis can point us to optimal regions or exact points in this design space) as well as an art (within the degrees of freedom that range beyond an empirical decision; there are opportunities for elegance, beauty, simplicity, novelty, and cleverness).
All architecture is design but not all design is architecture. Architecture represents the significant design decisions that shape a system, where significant is measured by cost of change.
  • Grady Booch (2006) "On design" cited in: Frank Buschmann, ‎Kevlin Henney, ‎Douglas C. Schmidt (2007) Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture, On Patterns and Pattern Languages. p. 214
  • When any great design thou dost intend,
    Think of the means, the manner, and the end.
  • Disguise and complication are hindrances, both to good construction and good design, and as complication and disguise are expensive and wasteful... the interests of good art and true economy run on parallel lines.
    • Ernest Flagg, Small Houses: Their Economic Design and Construction (1922)
  • As in poetry and music, even the unskilled ear may be offended by a mistake in measure, without discerning the cause, may not also a mistake in the harmony of dimensions unconsciously offend us in design?
    • Ernest Flagg, Small Houses: Their Economic Design and Construction (1922)
  • One of the best ways to economize in building is to economize on ugliness. ...Nothing can be greater service in avoiding ugliness than a knowledge of the principles of design.
    • Ernest Flagg, Small Houses: Their Economic Design and Construction (1922)
  • If the chief rules of good design were understood by the masses as they might be, nothing would do more to promote beauty, improve workmanship, add to the value of manufactures, and in many other ways further the general welfare and prosperity of the country. They are simple, easy to acquire, and should be taught with the alphabet.
    • Ernest Flagg, Small Houses: Their Economic Design and Construction (1922)

G - L

  • They float before my soul, the fair designs
    Which I would body forth to Life and Power,
    Like clouds, that with their wavering hues and lines
    Pourtray majestic buildings:—
    • Felicia Hemans (1834), from the sonnet Design and Performance in Records of the Autumn of 1834.
  • Honest designs
    Justly resemble our devotions,
    Which we must pay, and wait for the reward.
  • I think so many of the objects we're surrounded by seem trivial. And I think that's because they're either trying to make a statement or trying to be overtly different. What we were trying to do was have a very honest approach and an exploration of materials and surface treatment. So much of what we try to do is get to a point where the solution seems inevitable: you know, you think 'of course it's that way, why would it be any other way?' It looks so obvious, but that sense of inevitability in the solution is really hard to achieve.
  • The more I learnt about this cheeky — almost rebellious — company, the more it appealed to me, as it unapologetically pointed to an alternative in a complacent and creatively bankrupt industry. Apple stood for something and had reason for being that wasn't just about making money.
  • People think it's this veneer — that the designers are handed this box and told, 'Make it look good!' That's not what we think design is. It's not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
  • I think that designers have an incredibly broad creative repertoire. They solve. They create images of perfection for any number of clients. I could never do that. I’m my client. That’s the difference between an artist and a designer; it’s a client relationship. And so, to me, it’s not a hierarchical order; it’s not like artists are better than designers, but it is a particular instrumentality, which makes for a difference.
  • I think this will be as good a pattern for orders as I can think on. A little thin flowery border round, neat not gaudy, and the Drury Lane Apollo with the harp at the top.
    • Charles Lamb on his design for box tickets for the Drury Lane Theatre. Letter to William Wordsworth (June 26, 1806), in The Letters of Charles and Mary Lamb, Vol. I: 1795–1820, ed. E. V. Lucas (London: Methuen & Co., 1904), p. 354

M - R

  • In a very real way, designers create the human environment; they make the things we use, the places we live and work, our modes of communication and mobility. Simply put, design matters. And at a moment in our history in which the scientific community has issued serious warnings about the negative impacts of our flawed designs-from global warming and water pollution to the loss of biodiversity and natural resources-designers have a critical role to play in the creation of a more just, healthful and sustainable world.
  • If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
    • William Morris (1880) "The Beauty of Life," a lecture before the Birmingham Society of Arts and School of Design (19 February 1880), later published in Hopes and Fears for Art: Five Lectures Delivered in Birmingham, London, and Nottingham, 1878 - 1881 (1882).
  • Good design is also an act of communication between the designer and the user, except that all the communication has to come about by the appearance of the device itself. The device must explain itself.
    • Donald Norman (2002), The Design of Everyday Things, Introduction to the 2002 Edition
  • In their work, designers often become expert with the device they are designing. Users are often expert at the task they are trying to perform with the device. [...] Innocence lost is not easily regained. The designer simply cannot predict the problems people will have, the misinterpretations that will arise, and the errors that will get made.
    • Donald Norman (1988), The Design of Everyday Things (1988), Ch. 6
  • The design process involves a series of operations. In map design, it is convenient to break this sequence into three stages. In the first stage, you draw heavily on imagination and creativity. You think of various graphic possibilities, consider alternative ways...
  • Good design looks right. It is simple (clear and uncomplicated). Good design is also elegant, and does not look contrived. A map should be aesthetically pleasing, thought provoking, and communicative
  • This is exactly the meaning of design: the conflict between form and content, form being the problem. [...] It is the coming together of form and content that is the realization of design.
    • Paul Rand (2008), Conversations with Students p. 32

S - Z

  • Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context—a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan.
  • I have always believed that fashion was not made only to make women more beautiful, but also to reassure them, give them confidence.
  • Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones. The intellectual activity that produces material artefacts is no different fundamentally from the one that prescribes remedies for a sick patient or one that devises a new sales plan for a company or a social welfare policy for a state. Design, so construed, is the core of all professional training; it is the principal mark that distinguishes the professions from the sciences. Schools of engineering, as well as schools of architecture, business, education, law, and medicine are all centrally concerned with the process of design.
    • Herbert A. Simon, The Sciences of the Artificial, 3rd ed. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996), p. 111.
  • Today, the problem is not to produce more so you can sell more. The fundamental question is that of the product's right to exist. And it is the designer's right and duty, in the first place, to question the legitimacy of the product, and that is how he too comes to exist. Depending on what answer he comes up with, one of the most positive things a designer can do is refuse to do anything,
  • From a structural point of view, design is totally useless... I tried to give my products a little sense and energy. But even when I gave the best of myself, it was absurd.
    • Philippe Starck (2008) in: "Les doutes existentiels de Philippe Starck", Marie-Douce Albert, Le Figaro, March 28, 2008, p. 32

See also

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