Design for me has been summed up with these 2 quotes -

As early as 1938, Moholy-Nagy suggested that design was “a complex and intricate task … and the integration of technological, social and economic requirements, biological necessities, and the psychophysical effects of materials, shape, color, volume, and space’’ (Moholy-Nagy, 1938).

Herbert Simon’s seminal work in which he says, ‘‘Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones’’ (Simon, 1996)

The idea I had about design before starting college was that design is about designing of the material things. More importance is given to form and aesthetic. Something wasn’t right. I didn't know what it was initially. But as time has passed, I know that design for me is far away from that. I have tried to articulate my thoughts, processes and principles below. These are still developing and keep evolving while I navigate myself through my personal and professional life.

1. Accessibility and Inclusivity

Disability is created by the society. If someone is not able to access the internet because of ‘their’ disability, it's not their disability that's stopping them, it's our (society’s) problem that we created something unusable for everyone in the first place. Designing for accessibility is a duty, not an option (Robert Saywitch). As designers, creators and “so-called” problem solvers, it's our responsibility to create products and services which are accessible by everyone. It's about time we start giving priority and importance to accessibility and inclusion over form and aesthetic.

2. Co-design

Co- design also known as participatory design, is an approach to design that actively involves all stakeholders, researchers, designers and end users in the design process and the development process to help ensure that the end product meets the needs of the people we are designing for. People should be part of the process not just at the start or the end of the project but rather during the entire project design phase. Participation gives the people we are designing for agency to determine solutions for their problems.

An excerpt by Shreya Gupta’s article on co-design -

‘’Instead of imposing solutions and dictating the courses of the futures of people who never had access to the creation of technology or the services so designed, co-design and participation help in bridging this knowledge divide and get people into the problem-solving loop. We shouldn’t just test our products with them. We have to design the products with them. Not only does it make logical sense because the products thus designed would be more sustainable and adaptable, but it also makes the process ethical. Interviews, instead of pointing out at insights, could rather be used to formulate the research. They need not be the be-all-and-the-end-all of research. As researchers, we need to keep the users as indispensable parts of the process of generating insights. The sticky notes needn’t be limited to the glass walls and whiteboards of our studios.’’

“The choreographer creates a plan for the dance, but the dancer also created the dance as he brings his own point of view to performing it’’ - Hugh Dubberly and Shelley Evenson