What is Design?

Where do I start? There are so many definitions. Google gives me 3,73,00,00,000 answers in less than a second. Every time I sit down to think about what design means, I get a new answer. It is honestly confusing and intriguing at the same time. Even after being in the conscious process of designing for about a year now, I am still not clear what designing is. In fact, I know people who have been in this field for years, have done jobs, have industrial experience and have worked on multiple projects. If I were to ask them the definition, each person would have their own answers. It is very rare if not impossible that two or more people will have the same opinion.

So, what is design then? The answer is simple. Its everything you think it is. This means that design doesn’t have a fixed definition because design is such a vast field that we do things that we don’t realize is a part of design calling it by some other name. It is a combination of the creative as well the logical part of our brains. It is difficult to pin point what isn’t design. From the making of a needle to a spaceship, all comes under design. For every person the definition is different because each person uses it for different purposes. From the idea to the process of making to the end product and then the user experience and finally the feedback- it all comes under design.

So, design is a part of every one’s life whether they are aware of it or not. If we were to carefully examine our activities, we would be able to find that all of us are designers. Hence, the capability to design exists in all of us. But why then do we have a separate field called design?

This is because even though we use design in our daily lives, there is distinction between a good and a great designer. The design stream helps one to completely understand their capabilities and use it to create an outcome that can help if not one but millions across the world. It is a focused effort to use both the creative and the technical side. It is to solve problems and come up with new possibilities. Hence, design is a future-forward, thinking stream. It opens up avenues of explorations that can completely change the way the world sees a certain way of living. But design is a tangled and inter-connected stream of work. It involves various other processes like psychology, engineering, biomimicry, materials, economics, etc. Hence, it is important to consider these factors while trying to define what design is.

So, if I were to conclude with what design is, I would say I still don’t know. Unlike other areas of study, design cannot be constricted, it takes the meaning of whatever is assigned to it by everyone. Hence, design is and can be whatever you believe it is. However, it is important to discuss and understand its connection with other areas because all components are necessary to gain an insight and revamp its definition.

Anuranjani Sharma, Semester-II, B. Des. Product Design, Unitedworld Institute of Design (UID)

Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.

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