Good Design Makes the World a Better Place

Treatise #5

Design is too easily considered something flashy and superfluous. It can even be considered shallow and vapid. However, I think that both these claims are completely false. Good design makes the world a better place, why?

As designers, we are creating the interface through which people interact with the world. The power we have in our hands is to shape and evoke emotional and intellectual responses in people. In our case, we are creating user flows that will frustrate users or make them smile as the simplest of examples.

This job is enormously powerful. Imagine a world where all designers created products that made people angry. I don’t mean frustrated, I mean actually angry. We coloured things red and black and made everything sharp and angular. Things would be built to be cold and hard. Pretty soon, the population would start to feel angry and riled up too.

Now imagine an alternate world, where designers designed everything to make people feel good. Things were built to calm and relax people when necessary. To make people more aware in a gentle way when they needed that. Where everything was built to be warm and friendly and put a smile on people’s faces.

Indeed, I think most people would choose the latter world than the former. And that is precisely the point: that we as designers have great power to affect the mood of the population and make it a positive one. Imagine if all designers became truly aware of this collective power we had in our hands and put it into practice, the world would become a much better place.

So next time you are designing something or looking at a designed object, consider more deeply not just its effectiveness — but what emotion does it add to the daily landscape?