Defining Product Design in 2024

Defining Product Design in 2024

Article written by Kate Valind

1 min read

While most of my writing will be specific to the Design of digital products and services, I believe that many of the opinions and insights shared are also applicable to Design outside of those boundaries and even to life in general. I hope that there are moments where you make unexpected connections between what you read here and other, seemingly unrelated areas of your life.  

 

With the preamble complete, let’s start at the beginning: What is Design?


To me, Design has a two part definition. 


1: Design is the pursuit of wisdom


The pursuit of wisdom is “an activity people undertake when they seek to understand fundamental truths about themselves, the world in which they live, and their relationships to the world and to each other.”


2: Design is an act of creation


Creation is “the action of bringing something into existence.”


Put the two halves together we arrive at my personal definition:


Design is the pursuit of wisdom in service to the act of creation.

While most of my writing will be specific to the Design of digital products and services, I believe that many of the opinions and insights shared are also applicable to Design outside of those boundaries and even to life in general. I hope that there are moments where you make unexpected connections between what you read here and other, seemingly unrelated areas of your life.  

 

With the preamble complete, let’s start at the beginning: What is Design?


To me, Design has a two part definition. 


1: Design is the pursuit of wisdom


The pursuit of wisdom is “an activity people undertake when they seek to understand fundamental truths about themselves, the world in which they live, and their relationships to the world and to each other.”


2: Design is an act of creation


Creation is “the action of bringing something into existence.”


Put the two halves together we arrive at my personal definition:


Design is the pursuit of wisdom in service to the act of creation.

I want to take a moment to emphasize that to me Design is not just the process (the pursuit of wisdom) nor just its output (the thing created). Design is both the process and the outcome.


Whether you’re designing an app, a website, a building, or a chair, a designer needs to ask questions, gather information, and form hypotheses before making the first prototype. They may then need to ask more questions and gather more information before creating the second prototype, and so on and so forth until time and/or money runs out. 


Now that we're aligned on what I mean when I say "Design", let's move onto the more practical and tactical aspects of designing digital products and services.

Some resources that helped me form my understanding of Design:

99% Invisible, "The Design of Everyday Things" by Don Norman

Some resources that helped me form my understanding of Design:

99% Invisible, "The Design of Everyday Things" by Don Norman

The Design Process in 3 Easy Steps