Robot-Centered Design

The Future of User-Centered Design Has a New Kind of Stakeholder You’re a designer. You create products, experiences, services, buildings, and more. Each time you begin the design process, you consider the multitude
 of touchpoints and features of your design and how they will engage with your intended user. This is the logic of the…

I Design, Therefore I Am

(With Apologies to René Descartes)   As a university freshman, I studied philosophy. One of the first thinkers we studied was Aristotle, and for one of the first assignments we had was to answer the question, “Was Aristotle right in saying that the only thing that separates humans from animals is our ability to reason?”…

Thinking Design Thinking, One More Time

This is an updated version of an article 
I wrote in 2007 while waiting for a flight. I think it is time to revisit and update 
this article, as “design thinking” is in a very different state today than it was
 10 years ago, with organizations practicing it to different degrees of maturity. Before my…

Odile Decq and the Romance of Disagreement

Odile Decq is an award-winning French architect and urban planner, with an innate ability to bring together multiple disciplines and trains of thought to produce highly sophisticated designs. Since her first major commission for La Banque Populaire de l'Ouest in Rennes, France, she has become a radical voice in architecture research, being awarded The Golden…

If You Build It, They Will Care

Designing Empathetic Spaces and Objects 
for the Future of Caregiving “There is no doubt whatever about the influence of architecture and structure upon human character and action. We make our buildings, and afterwards they make us. They regulate the course of our lives.” —Winston Churchill, addressing the English Architectural Association, 1924 “It doesn’t
 make you…

Inclusive Design: An Interview with Dr. Dori Tunstall

Dr. Dori Tunstall, Dean of the Faculty of Design at OCAD University and the first black dean of a faculty of design anywhere, is not your typical design leader.
 Dr. Tunstall, who comes to her current work with a PhD in anthropology, has a history of founding and participating in initiatives that strive to decolonize…

The Principles of Design

Four Elements to Make Your Product More Relevant Over the past 20 years, I’ve had experiences or offered services within a wide range of jobs. My first taxable income came from working for McDonald’s in Schertz, Texas, just north of my high school on I-35. From there, I went onto selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door, working…

What is Sound Design?

Sound design is the art and practice of creating, collecting, adapting, and producing audio elements. Like any other type of design, sound design is a process that involves turning an idea into an outcome. What makes sound design different are the tools used in that process. Whereas a graphic designer’s toolkit includes typography, images, and…

Convergent Evolution: A Design Lesson

Design and evolution. To a scientist, using these two words in the same sentence borders on offensive, as it conjures up notions of intelligent design and other pseudoscience. I’m not even sure I would have ever contemplated this article until my recent immersion in the world of design. Illustration: Jennifer Backman…

Data-Driven Design in the Era of Pinterest

When I first started designing products with Umbra in the 80s, our tools were strictly analog; most of our inspiration came from a small number of European magazines that focused on high-end designer products. We would comb through pages of these magazines, tearing out relevant images and – quite literally – pinning them to a…