Ten principles that guide my daily design practice
Design is an intellectual profession and that’s why it matters.
The Genesis of any design work lies from the spark of an idea. As designers, we have the talent to visualize in our minds the whole process that is needed to materialize anything. Dieter Rams well said that “Good design is thorough down to the last detail.” and “the details are not the details, they make the design” (Charles Eames). Admitting that the intellectual side of what we do is real and crucial, it is the first step for a good professional practice.
Design has to be human, honest and clever.
This is the only way to achieve some kind of greatness in this industry. Before being designers we are all humans, therefore we should design things that speak a common language, a human language. Our users deserve honest designers who can create products/services that can help them fulfill any specific task without making them feel inferiors or wasting their time.
Design’s role is to care about people, messages, and ideas.
As humans we all have the responsibility to care about each other, but, as designers, we also have to care about the legacy of the times that we’re living. We are responsible for the things that we put into the world. We should care and we should be careful when choosing which message or ideal we’ll stand by. A good message can lead us into great concepts or ideas that are powerful enough to reshape societies. A designer should take this responsability seriously in order to avoid bad practice.
A good designer must fulfill their creative hunger and aim high. No matter the cost.
To define creativity in a meaningful way is almost impossible, however, when we know that something is not good enough, not creative enough, we feel it in our bones. We have to trust our gut, we have to challenge ourselves to avoid the recipes we know can get the job done and try to push our limits. The goal is to get better by working and if we keep it human, honest and clever the world will thank us.
A good designer knows their value and how to sell it.
We all know that the work we do may appeal as something easy to achieve, but that doesn’t mean that its value is deprecated. Good Design is Good Business. We all need to learn how to charge our clients fairly and that’s not necessarily cheap.
A good designer does not design useless or banal things.
We’re living in an “all you can eat” society that is basically designed to consume in a frenetic way. Accepting it like something normal is a mistake that alters the universal balance.
To correct this, we have to make the first move by learning to say “NO” to any project that produces an outcome that is not essential for society. We don’t need more. We need less but better.
A good designer knows that the audience is not dumb.
The most common mistake we can make as designers is to assume that people are stupid or they don’t want to be challenged.
If you want to make work that has a real impact, the first step is to have a real respect for your users.
Designers must help, respect and acknowledge other designers.
We are all here thanks to the effort of colleagues that helped to shape our concepts and tools. We have to acknowledge the legacy of the ones who came before us and respect those who harmed the profession for teaching us the difference between right and wrong.
Hard work is key. Talent is not enough.
The best designers know that talent is not reliable. It all came down to the same ol’ cliché: 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Go to work, do your best, apologize for any mistake and move on.
Good design is ethically correct and causes no harm.
Our profession does not have anything that resembles the Hippocratic Oath. I believe that’s the cause of many of the design crimes that humanity has witnessed.
If our purpose is to help people to achieve greatness without causing them any harm, then we have to enhance our practice by caring about professional ethics and the wellbeing of everything we do.
Get the poster here. Worldwide shipping.