Prime for Design


Defining Design

Design became part of the English language in the 1930s.  In English, the word is both a noun and verb.  As a noun, it means intention, aim, plan, scheme, plot—all alluding to someone being cunning and clever for the plan to exist.  As a verb, it means to draft, sketch, or fashion.  The word design is derived from the Latin word signum, meaning "sign".

To have any design, Intention, Innovation, and Technology are often required.  Intention requires creatives to first consider how human needs need to be served and how to make experiences better.  Technology requires creatives to understand materials, hardware, and software for a design to exist and function.  Innovation requires creatives to think about context, creativity, and strategy to develop an original design.

Individual Vs Collaborative

Individual Design originates from one person drawing, writing, and experimenting, where the individual is the sole proprietor.  This is the classical way of understanding a creative, which is more akin to how artists are identified.  Examples of these types of designers include Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and Frank Lloyd Wright.  While these designers are known to employ teams and collaborators, their individual vision is always comes first.

Collaborative Design happens when groups of people with different expertise design together.  This means people in the fields of business, human resources, urban planning, engineering, and marketing can collectively contribute to a design.  A formal process for the group to work through on a single interface contributes to collective focus.  Inclusivity and diversity are strengths as a breadth and depth of perspectives provide a check and balance for bias.


The premise of all design is discovery.  People who’ve discovered new ways of doing things are often trusted to lead this process due to their inherent courage, discipline, humaneness, intelligence, and vision  Communicating with confidence and from experience through a wide range of situations sustains this trust, but to solidify it, uniting teams who produce excellent results ethically is essential.


Designing begins with people and people seeking to understand each other.  Having credible knowledge of the needs, motives, and behaviors of people obtained through observation, conversation, and research is a good place to start.  Design as an iterative process, one that invites failure to arrive at successes.  Exploring the development, acceptance, refinement, and rejection of designs allows designs to be tested against their own merit.  The experience of designing is a deeply immersive experience requiring creatives to imagine, re-imagine, and play without boundaries to discover what’s possible.  A culture and environment that is comfortable for people to fail in and encourages healthy growth and development makes the designing experience better for everyone.

Joshua Hoering