Not another ‘what design is’ post.

© Emily Morter, via Unsplash

I can’t believe how many designers’ articles are out there lately, trying to describe what design is.

I believe terminology misalignment is among the biggest global contemporary problems in any profession and trying to agree on how we name things and processes, especially since we work in different environments and using different languages, is a great but painful task.

design dɪˈzʌɪn/ noun — a plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is made. (From Wikipedia)

Design is a very broad term. Even when you add another term next to it (e.g. graphic, UX, fashion, product, etc.), it remains generic.

You can use it technically, theoretically or philosophically. No matter what, you should always provide context and define the term each time you use it (if these are not obvious)*.

But, trying to define what Design is, for everyone, in a Medium post, is as pointless as describing ‘snow’ to a blind lizard living in the desert.

P.S. Speaking of terms, you may want to read these tech and research term lists from Guy Ligertwood.


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