Once upon a time I’ve found on the web a Word document where an unknown person compiled a brilliant selection of design definitions. I think it’s a good piece to keep, especially because the original file doesn’t exist anymore. So, here it is — enjoy.
- Design is a manifestation of the capacity of the human spirit to transcend its limitations.
- Designers who design like machines will be replaced by machines. It is not the digital but the intuitive, not the measurable but the poetic, not the mechanical but the sensual, which humanize design.
- Design plays a central, not merely ornamental, part in the creation of meaning.
- Design describes the processes of selecting shapes, sizes, materials and colours to establish the form of something that is to be made. The object can be a city or town, a building, a vehicle, a tool or any other object, a book, an advertisement or a stage set. Design is the activity which forms a major part of reality as we experience it.
- Design is not an art or a science, a socio-cultural phenomenon or a business tool. It is an innovative process which uses information and expertise from all these sectors. It uses creativity first to analyse and synthesise the interactions between them and, secondly to offer appropriate and innovative responses (forms) which, in application, should go beyond the sum of each sector’s vision and capacity and yet remain recognisable and pertinent to them all.
- Design is the cardinal means by which human beings have long tried to modify their natural environment. Design, the act of putting constructs in an order, seems to be human destiny.
- In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away, when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness.
- Design is a process of turning people’s ideas into forms. Transforming the invisible into the visible, design is also the operation of turning mental, social and spiritual entities into physical ones. Design is the process of the human creation of new realities. However, this assumes a thorough knowledge of the qualities and effects of the material world. Good design is the result of an excellent idea going into a good form, an excellent immaterial entity going into a good material one. Creating reality is always a synthetic activity, and the result must be beautiful.
- Design is everybody’s business: we live in it, we eat in it, we pray and play in it. When I say that design is everybody’s business, I don’t mean that design is a do-it-yourself job. I mean that it affects everybody, at all times, in our lives. Unless we gain a better understanding of design, we shall witness our environment getting steadily worse, in spite of the constant improvement of our machines and tools.
- Good design keeps the user happy, the manufacturer in the black and the aesthete unoffended.
- The word ‘design’ can mean either a weightless, metaphysical conception or a physical pattern. The opposite of design is chaos.
- The word design signifies so many different things: a process, a means of promoting sales, and a stage on the road to production. It enhances products, and sells them; it solves problems and conveys ideas; it is artistic and commercial, intellectual and physical. This many-sidedness &endash; or ambiguity and endash; is something we have to learn to live with, as a historically incontrovertible fact.
- Design requires a constant remodelling of our ideas as it must adapt its language to new possibilities offered by new structural materials.
- Industrial Design is a creative activity whose aim is to determine the formal qualities of objects produced by Industry. These formal qualities include the external features, but are principally those structural and functional relationships which convert a system to a coherent unity, both from the point of view of the producer and the user. Industrial Design extends to embrace all aspects of human environment which are conditioned by industrial production.
- Design, in its broader sense, is creation of systems for living.
- Simplicity — a virtue so rare and essential in design, does not mean want or poverty. It does not mean the absence of any decor, or absolute nudity. It only means that the decor should belong intimately to the design proper, and that anything foreign to it should be taken away. Decor must be consistent and totally integrated with the whole design story.
- Design must be meaningful. And «meaningful» replaces the semantically loaded noise of such expressions as «beautiful», «ugly», «cool», «cute», «disgusting», «realistic», «obscure», «abstract», and «nice», labels convenient to a bankrupt mind when confronted by Picasso’s Guernica, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, Beethoven’s Eroica, Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps, Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. In all of these we respond to that which has meaning.
- The design philosophy informing the concept of «The Humane Village» recognizes what individuals want in their daily lives; what they want to see and feel in their neighbourhoods, their homes and their workplaces; a sense of calm, permanence and timeless beauty, served but not dominated by the marvels of technology. Returning life to the pleasures of privacy and friendship in settings made to human scale. Building with foresight and restoring with care. Looking first to the needs and wishes of people.
- Design is the process, that turns ideas into products that deligts their users.
- Design is what you do, not what you’ve done.
- Design is giving shape to man’s dream.
- Good design is the solution best adapted to necessity, but very superior to it.
- Most think of design in terms of putting lipstick on a gorilla.
- A designer is an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist .
- Design is the anti-thesis of accident.
- Good design is intelligence made visible.
27th one is Webster’s. Just notice this line:
archaic : to indicate with a distinctive mark, sign, or name.
Arhaic? Or maybe futuristic? At least, this is in what direction I’d like to move.
P.S. Another great resource on design definitions is Quotes on Design by Chris Coyier.