What is Design ?

A mind that is stretched to a new idea never returns to its original dimension.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Design is one such idea.

Over my years of experiences with Design on multiple fronts, I still cannot definitively bound ‘design’ in a definition of a subject. Probably because unlike Physics or Chemistry, design is a way of life. But the point is its even not just that. The initial mystery that surrounds the word “design” is how did it start ?

And the answer to ‘design’ probably lies in searching that initiation point. But before we take that path, lets understand why are we choosing this path in the first place neglecting all other paths to understand design.

In one of my all time favorite TED talks by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie titled “Danger of a single story”, she makes a point on how important it is to ‘reject a single story’ about a subject and realize that ‘there is never a single story’ about any subject, its only then that we form a true perspective about things around us.

LOTA- the most appropriate representation of Indian Design.

Design has been a victim of a ‘single story’ in mass opinion. And hence, its important to go back to its initiation point leaving behind the stories we know. Unlike understanding it as a medium to improve lives, design has been often interchangeably used with the term ‘ART’, which is a medium of self expression. Everything around us is designed. From a safety pin to fighter planes, from light fixture to the light itself, EVERYTHING IS DESIGNED.

Its not about beautifying things. Even it is to a minor percentage, the core of design has little to do with aesthetics. That purpose is usually fulfilled by Arts.

Look around yourself and see what is “NOT” designed and you will unfold all those years, decades, centuries of design evolution around things that fit your needs today. It was a process of adaptation and evolution, not only for humans but for objects as well to stand the needs to changing times.

Probably you’ll find yourself an answer…