The distinguished design researcher, Don Norman, introduced his latest book “Designing a Better World” at the Projector Library where he personally discussed the key ideas presented in his new work.
In “Designing a Better World,” Norman investigates the ethics of contemporary design, the issues of consumerism, overproduction, and pervasive digitization. Here are 10 essential takeaways from the conversation between Don Norman.
- Meeting real people’s needs: We are first and foremost people, not consumers. The design fails when it concentrates on problems manufactured by marketers instead of fulfilling the genuine needs of people. The involvement of the people for whom the design will be created is crucial for its success.
- Leadership in design: The contribution of chief designers is just as vital as other top executives. They should be given the same recognition for successful projects. Design directors should sit on the board and make important decisions together with other leaders.
- Design ethics: Business reasoning often governs the world, but we should constantly consider the ethicality of the products we create. We should not only consider profits, but we must also think about their impact on the environment and the possibility of contributing to inequality and injustice.
- Overproduction: The production of new product models happens too frequently, and often, there is little difference between new and previous versions. For example, car manufacturers release new models every year, but the changes are often insignificant.
- Pervasive digitization: Digitization is ubiquitous, and this trend is increasing. It is essential to design for the elderly and the less tech-savvy people.
- Design education: The current design education system needs to be revamped. The design curriculum should incorporate
- Artificial Intelligence – A Tool to Empower Designers The arrival of new technologies has always caused concerns among people. However, designers should not fear the emergence of neural networks as the most successful specialists will be the ones who have an open-minded and unbiased approach to AI technologies. Instead, they should embrace AI as a given, since progress cannot be stopped. By learning about generative design, designers can explore new horizons and seize unprecedented opportunities.
- Think Beyond Your Expertise- In today’s world, proficiency in one’s specialization is no longer sufficient. Designers should become generalists to some extent, as design is essential to improve people’s lives and build a better future for generations to come. Design thinking should be applied in multiple domains of life.
- Design Can Solve Any Challenge – Design can help tackle real-life issues, such as ecological, economic, or political problems. For example, in Ukraine, designers can help address corruption issues by contributing their problem-solving skills. Design should benefit society and meet people’s needs. Therefore, designers should also show interest in politics and participate in it, as governments and laws can impact society significantly.
- Design for Unique Identity- In today’s globalized world, many designs seem to lack a unique identity. This is because most designers learn from the same sources and follow the same trends. However, there is nothing wrong with a Mexican doing Mexican design or a Ukrainian doing Ukrainian design. Designers should embrace their national identity to create designs that reflect their culture and history.