1st blog post

Hierachy of Needles …

In Tim Brown’s words in his video presentation, week one of our TP,  this blog attempts to create a small humble design movement ( University of Michigan 2010),  regards the brief for our first assessment in Teaching Unit DDD10007: Introduction to Design Principle and Processes.  By designing a blog site for this purpose, hopefully I follow Brown’s advice, putting design in the hands of everyone, not just the designer(s) (University of Michigan 2010) by inviting feedback and commentary on the posts entered for each blog component.

In designing a design, that attracts and engages with designers, as to why design as a technology and art is so important, and in the broader specialty of Media Studies, I choose ‘business document’ from the selection advised.  I’ll attempt a corporate poster promoting DESIGN as a technology and social tool, the poster being an address to hail and interpellate design candidates with the skill.

How will I go about structuring and framing the design? What do I want the design to do? How do I want it to function? Indeed, how do I sieve through all the learning principles and processes so far, that make up the huge haystack of concepts and ideas, innovation and creation codes for design and decide what to do first?

I will turn to a table of priorities, inspired by Abraham Maslow’s 1954 work, ‘Motivation and Personality’, (Lidwell et al, 2010 pp.124-125) known as the  ‘Hierachy of Needs’. This will take me through a series of phases of design and innovation where you do the first things first, starting with Functionality and building on the tiers above from Reliability, Usability and Proficiency  to the apex of Creativity (Lidwell, et al 2010). The foundation tiers will take me through processes of function, framing, and flexibility/usability tradeoff, where it can invoke the 80/20  rule as inspired by Joseph M. Juran in 1951 (Lidwell et al, 2003). This rule,  also called ‘the vital few’ will see me designing word count, with the fact that if I blog in more than one language, the function of the design within the design brief of the word count is compromised. So far I am impressed with the ‘80/20’rule, as it is a good guide to concentrate on resources in design, making sure that at least 20 % of my design gets at least 80% functionality – that’s what I call efficient!

The most important bottom tier of design, Functionality, although considered a purist aspect and of little value being linked to the minimal emotional sphere of ‘physiological’ (Lidwell et al, 2010) will ultimately determine success of meeting basic needs to progress to higher more valued needs.

So at this phase of my poster design, I’ll take inspiration from Paula Scher and Phillipe Starck and if I get stuck or confused wading through all the principles and processes and need to find the starting point in the haystack, I will remember the hierarchy, find the compass needle and head from the bottom up.


Lidwell, W Holden, K & Butler, J 2010, Universal principles of design: 125 ways to enhance usability, influence perception, increase appeal, make better design decisions, and teach through design, Rockport Publishers, Beverly, MA.

Scher, P 2008, Great design is serious, not solemn, TED, May, <; – viewed 11.11.16,

Starck, P 2007, Design and destiny, TED, March,  <;. – viewed 14.11.16

University of Michigan 2010, From design to design thinking, 25 August,  <;. – viewed 8.11.16

2nd blog post

Serious Play …..

2002.53A-B_2.tif  ‘Oops! Chair’, Jake Cress 1997

As many a great designer has advised, good design is serious, not solemn and we should think latitudinally and not be afraid to play with design. However, Week 3 of our learning materials sees us examine the importance of design in the business world and its profitability, driving and promoting business into the future, with the client and buyer of design collaborating. You can create a 1/20 ratio of dollar profit with good design, hence 33 Billion dollars is spent on design in the UK annually (Design Council 2014). So, I consider the aspects of ‘expectation effect’ and how I will incorporate it in the poster design. Also, my own ‘classical conditioning’ may affect the way I design the poster and will my mental models (systems matches interpretation) match those of the target audience (Lidwell et al 2010)

.   norman-tiltingteapot-h   norman-tiltingteapot-t  norman-tiltingteapot-v

Figure 3:The Ronnefeldt “tilting” teapot. Put leaves on the shelf (seen through the opening on the teapot to the left), fill with hot water, and lay the teapot on its back. As the tea darkens, tilt the pot. Finally, when the tea is done, stand the teapot vertically, so the water no longer bathes the leaves and the brew does not become bitter. (Author’s collection. Photo by Ayman Shamma.) from Don Norman’s ’emotion and design’ (2002).

Designers work as problem solvers (Fadell T. 2015), so it stands to reason they would gravitate to collaborative work to combine individual values and experience that informs design. But the poster must take into its structure design ethos and design activism, such as indi, makers mark etc and consider why humans design in the first place, what motivates them. In Tony Fadell’s video “the first secret of design is noticing” (2015), he advises to shake off habituation, it hampers good design thinking and ‘look broader, look closer, think younger’.  I decide to apply this ideology to my poster structure and referencing Dieter Rams of the famous Braun Design Lab, go right back to pen and paper and drawing board technique in the creation and ideation of the poster design.  I want a simple uncluttered playful design, that has a great ‘entry point’ (Lidwell et al 2010) in its primary image and script and effects a ‘savannah’ as a preferred place to experience (Lidwell et al 2010) in terms of framing, balance and aesthetics.


Image: Apollo 13 CO 2 Scrubber duct taped, definately not a ‘savannah’!

Week 5 of our learning materials sees us focus on the democratisation of design looking at the move from designer as ‘auteur’ to participatory design (collaborative, constructivist).  Dieter Rams advises us that users of good design have positive experiences when things are clear (ren@rt 2013) and I aim for my poster to have clarity, a high level of accessibility and taking into account the democratisation of design around the world, designing a poster for designers to engage with a design laboratory is a design that is truly at its heart for everybody in its ideation. I have a design process diagram (Engeler-Newbury B. 2015) for the poster and now just need some critique and feedback …

and here tis my design process …




Playing around with layout and script …


Cristal Pens advertisement, minimal colour combinations – pale, desaturated except the golden hue
French Rolling Stone Magazine cover, increased colour combinations – desaturated to high saturation, mixed with monotones – I like this better!


10redants 2013, Principles of good design, 13 July, viewed 22 July 2016, <;.

Cress J. 1997 ‘Oops! Chair’ [image] Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the artist © 1997, Jacob Cress 2002.53A-B Not currently on view – viewed 11.12.16

Design Council 2014, The value of design, 2 September, viewed 22 July 2016, <;. – viewed 5.12.12

Engeler-Newbury, B 2015, ‘The design process’ [image], from The design process [lecture].

Fadell, T 2015, The first secret of design is… noticing, TED, March, viewed 22 July 2016, – viewed 3.12.16.

Lidwell, W Holden, K & Butler, J 2010, Universal principles of design: 125 ways to enhance usability, influence perception, increase appeal, make better design decisions, and teach through design, Rockport Publishers, Beverly, MA.

Norman, D. A. (2002). Emotion and design: Attractive things work better. Interactions Magazine, ix (4), 36-42 – viewed 11.12.16

Rolling Stone Magazine Cover, 2014, ‘Rolling Stone Hors-Série Collector N 20 – David Bowie 2014’ [image] – viewed 30.11.16

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