I came across Frank Chimero's talk on design at Build Conference in 2010. I don't know how I didn't see this before, but it is such a smart and nourishing discussion on the design that I had to share it!
It is extremely difficult to give an accurate definition of design. And those of us who work as designers often get lost in the everyday business and process of it that we forget the true power of our work. In this talk, Frank Chimero gives us a more acute definition of design (from way way back in time) and reminds us what it means to design. We have the power to delight our audiences, tell stories and nourish our lives through this practice. Most of us become designers for these reasons, and that can be forgotten all too easily as you meet deadlines, work with clients and pay your bills. We need this reminder every now to remind us why we do what we do.
Frank discovers, a most accurate definition of design from Aristotle's writings:
Design requires some degree of cleverness, technical know-how, skill, craft and art. Frank notes that "logic breaks when we work with people." What he means by this is that technology operates on logic, but the systems we build and the things we want to communicate with design is meant for people, and people are not logical, they're emotional. It takes more than technical skill and logic to design. It takes cleverness, heart and empathy. Designing with data only gets us so far. It makes sense for logic and for business to work from data. It's very scientific and it makes sense. Often people don't understand design; they understand data and logic. But the most important and impactful designs and discoveries are such that because they delight people on an emotional level. They resonate with them because it hits them in their gut or in their heart. It elicits a reaction. That can't be designed based on data alone.
Frank Chimero's talk makes you fall in love with design all over again.