A small manifesto for design

Disclaimer: I have made digital products for over ten years in a variety of roles, from the formal designer role, to product manager to general manager and even long ago, code monkey. So this is my view-point. Yours might be different. Also, this was originally tweeted, thus the format. 

Design: A plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is made

That’s the best definition of design I know. I usually boil it down to “A plan for making”

How you make the plan varies. How you express the plan varies. How you implement the plan varies.
Some approaches work better in some situations than others.

It is very important as one who designs to share what is working for them with a sense of joy, humbleness and suspicion.

It is very important to those who also must design to listen to each other with a sense of gratitude, joy and suspicion.

The unique value a designer has on any team is s/he can make an idea tangible without the cost of building it.

Designers may have other useful skills — communication, bridging disciplines or tap dancing, but those can also be had by PM’s or engineers

Designers often confuse skills that make them good designers for skills designer must have.

Those who design must practice continually to become better. They must learn from the world, and study everything they can so they make new mistakes.
Everyone on your team is a designer, they just have some different skills than you do. Collaborate.

If you are making things for people who are not on your team, include them in the process for making your plan.

Know what “good” means for your product. Then make good products


Command/Service Module /
Lunar Module Comparison

A long time ago my ex said “I always laugh when you say designer like everyone knows what you are talking about, because I think “What? Nuclear weapons design? Rocket launcher design? Rover design? what?” (he did work at NASA.)

In this time when design is celebrated, try to remember you are special and unique. Just like everybody else.
Related posts:
How to Hire a Designer
Letter to the Newly Minted Designer
Worlds Easiest Way to Critique a Design