10 Principles of HUman-Centered Design


Is it enough to simply create…

or is there a deeper significance to design? If design is indeed powerful, with what values do we wield that influence? Why do we create? How? What is our responsibility to those we create for?

Famed industrial designer Jony Ive once said that "The stuff that we do testifies to our values.”, arguing that our work speaks not just to our aesthetic, but to our core beliefs and our attitude toward others. To that end, I believe every designer has a declaration to make. This is mine:

I was born with passions, privileges, talents, and time. I’ve been given a chance to construct a more loving world with these tools I’ve been given and I intend to make use of them. But good intentions are not enough. My intentions must also have a direction, a manifesto for how I will carry out my Purpose. To that end, I believe that:

1. “Design” is a practice, not an identity. Design is something you do, not something you are. Design is simply a loosely codified set of practices intended to guide someone toward creating for a specific end. In truth, we are all designers and titles mean nothing.

2. To design with intention is to place value on the lives of those you’re designing for. Design that is careful, that is considered, is a way of telling someone they matter, and that their lives are worthy of such devotion.

3. Our worth does not depend on our outputs and our effectiveness can only be measured by the extent to which our creations serve the good of humanity.

4. People are not commodities. They are not worth merely what they can be sold for, and their importance cannot be determined by the amount to which they can be sold to.

5. Creators are responsible for the effect their creations have on the world. We bear authorship over the consequences of our designs as much as to the designs themselves, and should thus design accordingly.

6. Empathy is the path to beneficial design. A creation's benefits are directly proportional to its creator’s understanding of their user. To design well is to design with, not for, and especially not at.

7. Creativity is the act of finding the simplest alternative around an insurmountable obstacle. It is the by-product of skill, work ethic, and constraint. It is not a magic trick.

8. Our identity is not contingent upon our occupation. Our value does not depend on transient factors, but rather on the fact that we are children of God and are loved unconditionally.

9. All of humanity are equal. No human life, for any reason, can be thought of as superior to another. We are all deserving of love, and all in equal measure.

10. The basis of all that is designed is the belief that the future can be better than the present, and that we bear the capacity to give our optimism form. Design is hope.