A compelling defense for the importance of design and how it shapes our behavior, our emotions, and our lives by Jessica Helfand
Design has always prided itself on being relevant to the world it serves, but interest in design was once limited to a small community of design professionals. Today, books on “design thinking” are best sellers, and computer and Web-based tools have expanded the definition of who practices design. Looking at objects, letterforms, experiences, and even theatrical performances, award-winning author Jessica Helfand asserts that understanding design’s purpose is more crucial than ever. Design is meaningful not because it is pretty but because it is an intrinsically humanist discipline, tethered to the very core of why we exist. For example, as designers collaborate with developing nations on everything from more affordable lawn mowers to cleaner drinking water, they must take into consideration the full range of a given community’s complex social needs. Advancing a conversation that is unfolding around the globe, Helfand offers an eye-opening look at how designed things make us feel as well as how—and why—they motivate our behavior.
Design is an intrinsically humanist discipline, tethered to the very core of why we exist. It frames our conception of power, informs our belief about personal dignity, piques our curiosity about fiction and fantasy; highlights our yearning for romance and beauty; and engages our eternal appetite for narrative. Design matters because of the why, not the what: the sentiment, not the acquisition. Design matters because people matter, and the purpose of this book is to examine precisely this proposition: to consider the conscience-driven rules of human engagement within which design must operate. This is a book about design as it relates to human beings. Because that is what matters most of all.
The author itself has given a personal, short video-introduction, take a look!
She is a designer, an artist, and a theorist. In our increasingly technological age, she believes it has become easier to engage in uncritical satisfaction with one’s accomplishments than to absorb the critical questions that arise when observing human behavior and emotions in daily life. Jessica Helfand is co-founder of Design Observer, and a faculty member at the Yale Schools of Art and Management.