You mind if I continue invading Germany?

What causes this mix of dismay and delight? Designers are trained as craftspeople, without any substantive knowledge of the content areas in which they do their work. My dismay comes from their lack of understanding and by the confidence with which they proclaim masterful solutions to the world’s problems. They often produce innovative, clever solutions, but with no evidence that they have actually addressed the most critical parts of the problem or that their solutions actually work. They are often unaware that others have toiled with those issues for decades, that the problems are deep and profound, and that no single approach, no matter how brilliant, will suddenly solve all the issues.


Don Norman on the Research-Product Gap in Design Research. Talk at the IIT Conference 2010.


The man who coined the term “User Experience” explains why we need to combine psychology and engineering.


If you have two hours to kill this weekend, I highly recommend this discussion on “Trends in the Overlap between Art, Business, and Design” between Jon Kolko, founder of the Austin Center for Design and Don Norman.

There are way too many good nuggets in here to try to summarize (including Don going off on Google + Design and Jon going off on MBAs + empathy), though moderator Richard Anderson does a great job in this blog post.

Don Norman | TED

Don Norman sees design everywhere. Norman’s goal is to help transform design. Don has experienced and accomplished a lot in his years. Business Week calls him a “cantankerous visionary” – his quest for excellence and has listed him as one of the world’s 27 most influential designers. Norman is cofounder of the Nielsen Norman Group, he has taught at taught at Iowa State, and has been Vice President of Apple in charge of the Advanced Technology Group. 

I watched a video from TED and Don gives his viewpoint of design and I’m happy to say it relates well to my life and design thought process. Beautiful, functional, reflective.

These key words were used to describe what design should be. The importance of emotion within design and the importance of including human elements, cleverness, and even humor are key. “Pleasant things work better, that never made any sense to me.” 

Don talked about how pressure, or fear can really change the way you think, it can focus you. When you are happy you are more likely to do out of the box thinking, that’s what brainstorming is all about. Although, if you always thought like this and never ran into pressure, more than likely you wouldn’t get any work done because you would just continue to think of more solutions. So, to get work done you need to have deadlines and you need to have an anxious feeling in your life. 

In design you can express a visceral level of thinking in many ways, whether it be through typefaces, color, or shape. This is the base level of thinking, if you move deeper you can connect to the behavioral level. Like visceral, behavioral thinking is subconscious. Usability, understanding, and the feeling of design come through on this level. The feeling of control comes through. Reflection is the final level, you always have to take the time to reflect on your actions. Be Positive.

Emotions let us interpret our world. Without emotion what would design be?

Thinking back to my week, our Small Town Studio group was working through our process. We were preparing for a presentation and had put most of our marbles into one basket, which wasn’t the best idea. With a little pressure to spread our excitement and thought process through out three identities, we actual we able to accomplish more, like Don mentioned. To me deadlines are good, I try to stay ahead and be on top of everything. Listening to Don speak was reputable and a good reflection.