I’ve always appreciated good design. In fact, at one point I thought art might be a career path until I decided to pursue ordained ministry instead. But the lessons I learned in undergrad have stayed with me and serve as a foundation for how I think about life and work.
The fact is, design matters. Good design makes your life better. Bad design makes it worse. For example:
- Remember that product you bought that was so frustrating to use (let alone get out of the packaging or set up)? That was bad design.
- Remember that amazing restaurant that was such an enjoyable experience from start to finish? That was good design.
- Remember that horrible phone tree and bureaucracy you had to endure just to get a simple solution from a real human being? Yep, bad design again.
You see, design goes way beyond phones and furniture. At it’s core, design is just people thinking (or not) about how to make something (a product, system, or process) work well. In that sense, good design is a way of blessing others and bad design is a way of burdening them.
Good design is finding creative, affordable, and sustainable ways to get food, water, sanitation, and medical supplies to the people who need them the most. Bad design is the corrupt and inefficient political systems that created those problems in the first place.
Good design is a workplace culture that makes it easy to do the right thing and hard to do the wrong thing. Bad design is an environment that reinforces and rewards incompetence, cover up’s, backbiting, and the status quo.
Design is everywhere. It’s inescapable. It effects everyone, all the time.
But it’s even bigger than that. You were actually designed by the master designer to be a master designer. The same God who made the earth made you and created you to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). You are made in the image of a God who cares deeply about design, and indeed, invented good design. It doesn’t get much more important.
In part 2, I’ll share how I’ve used design thinking to shape my own life and how you can do the same. But until then, reflect on the following questions:
- Do I value design? Why or why not?
- Where do I see good design in my daily life? Where do I see bad design?
- What might change if I began seeing myself as a designer?