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Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

The universal foundations of design

Massimo Vignelli once said:

“If you can design one thing,
you can design anything.”

What he meant was, the basics of design don’t change. If you understand the basic rules, you can design anything.

Another way to think about this is that there are a set of “building blocks” or “fundamental forces” in design. These elemental forces are always at play in your design whether you know it or not.

Here’s what they look like to me:

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“If I had asked people what they
wanted, they would have said
faster horses.” — Ford

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Design is like food. You need to know what type of meal you’re cooking and who’s coming to eat before you make it. …

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Look at all these buttons.

What do a fruit peeler, iPod and fighter jet have in common?

At the beginning of a product project (new website, app etc) you inevitably hear this line:

“…and we want it to be easy to use.”

Everyone nods, the meeting moves on, no one ever asks how easy.

This is odd because if someone says:

“…we want to charge a fee for that.”

Someone will immediately ask: “How much? How will they pay?”

There’s a number of options if you want to make something easier to use.

Option 1: Improve the interface

Make the interface (UX/UI) better. Better grouping, labelling, element expression, layout, modalities, form factors and other HCD principles. …

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Analysing 20 years of top 100's

I was curious about how music has changed over the twenty years that I’ve been listening to it. Has the internet increased the amount of music we’re exposed to? Do songs behave differently in the charts because of this?

I collected the last twenty years worth of weekly top 100 songs from UK’s Official Charts, and had a look.


Compared to the 90’s, there are less songs in the charts today and songs stay in the charts longer.

Longer more interesting version:

For each song that was released in the last twenty years I charted the journey it took through the charts to see if there were any obvious macro patterns. …



I write articles about design, business and how to create digital products.

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