design, designers, designing & designs

What is design?

The word ‘design’ is used as a verb and as a noun. It refers to the activity, designing, and to the outcome of that activity — the artefacts produced by the designing— which we call designs. It also refers to those creative professionals conducting the activity: designers, and, finally, to the discipline as a whole: design.

Designing is the activity, the process designers undergo to create the visual, material, spatial and experiential environments in response to a given problem, in a specific context. The design process involves a structured design methodology including phases of research, ideation, iteration, prototyping and implementation. This process considers the production technologies, distribution networks and the eventual economic, social, cultural and environmental impacts of the design outcomes. All professional designing works with the design methodology—integrating form, function, experience and context— to generate a solution, for a client, adjusted to a specified user. Given that the world is more fragile due to the impacts of urbanisation and mass consumption, the activity of designing must reflect a set of roles and responsibilities, and a code of ethics and conduct that is accountable to people and the planet.

Designers are the professionals, people who hold creative, interdisciplinary knowledge bases, skills and experiences, with the shared obligation to recognise a code of ethics and conduct. Designers consider the impact of their designs on individuals, humanity and the well-being of the planet.

Designs are the artefacts produced by designing, the ‘objects’, ‘solutions’, ‘collaborations’ ‘systems’ and even ‘concepts’ produced by designing. Sometimes the result is not physically tangible, but is instead experienced in the abstract. Sometimes, 'things' are designed that should not have been, contributing to the excess of waste in landfills. While we value the creation of functional and aesthetic objects, we believe that the designs of the future will be about making people rethink their desires, and question their need for more ‘stuff’. Forms of design for tomorrow may become, for example, the creation of a network of people brought together to influence governments to establish a policy or systems to share and re-use tangible goods.