What is Design?
“Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.”
– Herbert A. Simon, social scientist
The products of design are all around us. Every human-made thing you use and service or system you interact with was designed by someone – whether or not they considered themselves a designer.
Objects and graphics are obvious examples of design, but design decisions play an important role in less tangible outcomes, such as services and systems and the plans and policies that affect community life. In many ways these “invisible” designs have an even bigger impact on how we live and experience the world.
Because design decisions have such wide reaching impacts, in recent decades the use of design methods and tools (sometimes called “design thinking”) has spread beyond the confines of the “traditional” design disciplines and is used as a process for innovative thinking among business people, educators, scientists, social workers, communities, and many others. Dozens of domain- and discipline-specific design approaches exist today to help practitioners describe and organize the design process. Engineering Design, Human-Centered Design, User-Centered Design, and Design Thinking are a few that may be familiar to you.