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Twenty-Eight Design Aphorisms Before Boston…

1. Everything in life is ephemeral, don’t expect anything you design to live forever.
2. Use technology, don’t let it use you.
3. Be aware of what you make and what it says, because people live and die through all of the images we create.

4. We need more teamwork.
5. Have your cake and eat it too; participate in design “research.”
6. Have a backup plan.
7. Designers are not monkeys, they do not merely articulate.
8. New ideas are made every single day; unless you repeat yourself, it’s new. Don’t worry about whether or not the person next to you is doing it, or will do it.
9. Trust no one. No matter how original your idea seems, somebody else is looking to do it better, and probably cheaper.
10. Keep your enemies close. (See number 9.)
11. Media allegiance spells limitation. Think first, then choose what tools to use.
12. There’s nothing wrong with design that looks like art.
13. There’s nothing wrong with art that looks like design.
14. Think holistically.
15. Work in a style that maximizes your performance and well being.
16. Appreciate your audiences’ needs and team members’ skills.
17. Establish objectives prior to form.
18. Brainstorm. Fail frequently. Enjoy the element of play.
19. There are no truisms.
20. A connoisseur of design is not a designer.
21. Design history is not a chronicle of style; you cannot truly critique design unless you fully understand its history.
22. Ideology, thought, and agenda are as important as aesthetics.
23. Design without ego.
24. Statements like “Designers Don’t Think” are short-sighted at best.
25. There is always more than one solution.
26. There will always be revisions.
27. The entire process of design is its essence. Without process, we are left with merely style and solutions.
28. Aesthetic biases are and are not the purest form of design.

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ENTRY DETAILS
ARCHIVE ID 2415 FILED UNDER Miscellaneous
PUBLISHED ON Sep.13.2005 BY Jason A. Tselentis
WITH COMMENTS
Comments
danny’s comment is:

Very nice. A couple questions though:

20. A connoisseur of design is not a designer.

Can that read the same as "a connoisseur of design is not necessarily a designer"? Because wouldn't you say that there are plenty of designers who fully understand its history, and that, in some ways, makes them a connoisseur? Much like wine connoisseurs know all about different types of wine, where they come from, how they're made, their flavors, etc.

Or is it more similar to someone who knows what they like and dislike (about design), and is too set in their ways to accept a valid design solution that is outside of their tastes?

On Sep.14.2005 at 12:08 AM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

So why stop at twenty eight aphorisms? I'm sure you could add a couple more. What's the significance between the numbers?

On Sep.14.2005 at 01:28 AM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

7. Designers are not monkeys, they do not merely articulate.

24. Statements like “Designers Don’t Think” are short-sighted at best.

-

The more I hang around designers the more I realise that they are pretty much exactly like everyone else in the world (We only think we're different--just like everyone else in the world), which means that statments 7 & 24 are incorrect most of the time. Aphorisn'ts?

On Sep.14.2005 at 07:03 AM
AmyP’s comment is:

These are great, Jason. I'm sharing them with my students.

On Sep.14.2005 at 08:50 AM
Jason Tselentis’s comment is:

Michael, how right you are. Hence the title's ellipsis.

On Sep.14.2005 at 08:52 AM
Alan’s comment is:

Oh, I know all about number one. I used to work in Silicon Valley (in Boston now -- see ya'll on Friday) and without exception, every client in my portfolio from those days either went bankrupt or was aquired by another company. I've found that I am much happier in a job that, while still fleeting, the design that I do has more social meaning than selling an electronic component. I suppose the lesson there is, don't expect your design to live forever, but make it mean something while it's here.

On Sep.14.2005 at 10:39 AM
Rob’s comment is:

Okay, not to pick too much. But if I've learned anything, 25. There is always more than one solution, may be true but would you really admit that to your client? Aren't we as designers striving to develop the solution that works best? Am I overeaching here or just plain jealous that I'm not packing for Boston?

Great list, Jason. Have a great time in BeanTown.

On Sep.14.2005 at 02:17 PM
Lorenzo’s comment is:

29. Allow for any possible design aphorism interpretation.

On Sep.16.2005 at 04:23 AM
Iain Hamilton’s comment is:

I'm with Rob on #25. I agree that there is always more than one solution, but one solution is always better [strategically of course, which is the point, right?] than the rest... identifying it is the hallmark of the good designer.

On Sep.16.2005 at 09:01 AM
IH’s comment is:

I'm with Rob on #25. I agree that there is always more than one solution, but one solution is always better [strategically of course, which is the point, right?] than the rest... identifying it is the hallmark of the good designer.

On Sep.16.2005 at 09:01 AM
IH’s comment is:

I'm with Rob on #25. I agree that there is always more than one solution, but one solution is always better [strategically of course, which is the point, right?] than the rest... identifying it is the hallmark of the good designer.

On Sep.16.2005 at 09:01 AM
IH’s comment is:

I'm with Rob on #25. I agree that there is always more than one solution, but one solution is always better [strategically of course, which is the point, right?] than the rest... identifying it is the hallmark of the good designer.

On Sep.16.2005 at 09:01 AM
Ankur’s comment is:

#1. Everything in life is ephemeral, . . . Not Aphorisms!!

On Nov.10.2005 at 04:18 AM
Ankur’s comment is:

#2. Use technology, don’t let it use you - technology uses Indians to find it way next.

On Nov.10.2005 at 04:19 AM