This is a very well-written essay and it presents a good perspective.
Austin Knight
33

Yes, we agree here — designers who are not empathetic to users’ needs, emotions, behaviors, and motivations are not going to be successful. Particularly with product design, designers need to remember that they are designing for other people, not themselves. It’s not so much that designers need to “express the users”, but that they are serving their users.

As much as designers are in service to those they are designing for, what we make reflects not only our own perspectives but also the conditions under which the product/service/object is being made. If there is not a clear intention, if the makers don’t understand who they’re designing for, if they have conflicting priorities that compete for attention and resources, whatever gets made will reflect this mess, usually in the form of complexity and clutter.

My point about Chanel and Rams is that their designs embodied clear intention, which is why their designs were great. They only became celebrity designers after they brought their creations to life. The fact that they are still relevant is a testament to the quality and purity of their design vision and expression of it. Timelessness is one of the best litmus tests for whether something is well designed or not.

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