Making Design Matter is concerned with exploring meaning in Design.
We know that truthful design – ”good design”, does matter! It adds value and provides understanding in cultural, aesthetic, and in everyday terms. At a fundamental level, good design improves and enhances our notion of being human.
But how can we as designers make it matter more, when excess ideation just produces surplus “matter”; services, experiences, artefacts, that are not conceived to empathise or evoke meaning, but dumb stuff, with a capital “D”?
This stuff is obsolete, devoid of value, and superficial and does not pull on our emotions or sustain our affections. Stuff that is discarded as fast as it is acquired, stuff that is seemingly passionately desired, but not sincerely wanted!
For design to be more relevant to human condition and contribute to human activity, it has to have a value beyond its purchase price and style. A lasting value that relates to human existence. That is significant, timeless, affective, ethical, and sustainable and enhances our lives, and creates a rich story for our collective personal and cultural identities.
Why then is this Little Red Book so important?
David is a special type of guy, who I have had the pleasure to work, collaborate and share many fireside conversations with. On the face of it, he is an unassuming, modest and disarming person without ego, who likes to talk about Roses and Nature, and yet he is someone who cares deeply about what we do in the manmade world, and how well we do it.
He is without the mantle of the name ”Designer”, with no great claim to product or artefact. In fact he is not even a professional designer of anything, nor is he an academic or evangelical educator, neither is he adesign advocate. But what he is, is an insightful narrator, the wise man in the crowd.
David through David Report and Designboost is at the heart of Scandinavian Design sensibilities, discourse, and fulcrum of European debate. He is commentator and speaks passionately about the concerns of design, he is cross-pollinator, a sharer of knowledge and he is an authentic thought leader who knows about the role of the designer… and for me, he is what I call the ”watcher in the rye”…
He is able to examine and see the overview, the relationship between the crop and the landscape, to offer critical objectivity and be the observer of the human condition. To decipher and see the ”phoniness”* in all that is man made, to encounter the change that challenges our innocent desire to design a better world.
This Little Red Book presents a pocket guide to meaningful design. Seven stepping stones that inspire you to cross the stream of change, and get you to the other side, firm and dry.
The guide is a bridge to an important iterative and strategic approach based on holistic thinking, shared wisdom, and reflective insights, and will help you to make design better – and matter!
The seven steps facilitate a convergence of different fields, to inspire designers, clients, and organisations to evolve more evocative design solutions. Less design and more thought, to enable designers to create value for business, and improve the human condition through empathy and focus on human well-being and collaboration.
David told me his ambition was “to write a simple book about this complex subject, a non-academic book, easy to understand, digest, and act upon.” This Little Red Book is that book, so pocket its wisdom!
Brent Richards / Creative Chef & Architect
*Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger, 1951, chapter 22. The novel’s protagonist Holden Caulfield’s concept of ”Phoniness”, as an emblem of all that is wrong with the man in the world.