Design – Why does it matter?


Design does matter! Why?

I have always believed “design matters”, however, this was subconsciously based on aesthetics, or so I thought. In the “B Side” of my life, I have an enduring passion for creating wearables. These wearables are created with a person in mind, with the desire to enhance that person’s well-being, through working ‘with’ the individual’s body shape and colour analysis. As I read for this course, I am thinking that aesthetics is just the outward result of my work, and deep down I have used design to create wearable solutions. Sometimes successful, sometimes not. Furthering my reading thus far, I have decided on three reasons why design does matter.

Firstly, design is a process to provide human-centred solutions. (Temple, 2010, p. 15). The process transforms ideas into artefacts. (Kuratko, Goldsworthy, & Hornsby, 2012, p. 103). Tim Brown (TED Talks, 2009) urges designers to think big because design thinking is a new way of tackling problems: design starts with humans and Brown suggests that learning by making is best. Instead of thinking to build, build in order to think. I ponder – is this a form of ‘backward design’? Faggella, (2014, p. 7) in his futurist column, discusses designing domestic robots. He believes that cultural differences will play a role in the the design of these robots in the future. This is an example of the role of human-centred solutions in design. Wisniewski, (2014, p. 10) provides discussion around digital design, and the need for human-centred solutions in the banking industry.

Secondly, design in business matters. Design improves competitiveness and increases turnover. Businesses where design is integral, are more likely to develop new products and services, and those businesses which are growing are more likely to believe that design is integral to future. (The Design Council, 2007). Understanding design makes companies more innovative. (Kuratko, Goldsworthy & Hornsby, 2012, p. 109).

Thirdly, design matters because it is what links creativity and innovation, (Temple, 2010, p. 15), and design converts ideas into artefacts. (Kuratko, Goldsworthy & Hornsby, 2012, p. 109). Design is not just aesthetics (Temple, 2010, p. 15), however, I personally think aesthetics are important as well! I think aesthetics provide ‘ambience’ to humans, eg colour, shape, form, texture influences our mindset when entering a gallery, museum, favourite restaurant … and our workplace.

  • What are the core reasons for which we need a design process?

Temple (2010, p. 15) states that we have a design process to ensure the idea is converted into reality.

Temple (2010, p. 15) places design on a ‘continuum’ : designing leading to innovation, in turn leading to entrepreneurship. Seidel & Fixson’s (2013, p. p. 21-23) literature review reveals a variety of design process methods. Needfinding, brainstorming and prototyping are the three stages they found as being beneficial to the design thinking process.

IDEO, (2012, p. 12-15) suggest a 5 step design process to approach any challenge, commencing with the identification of a challenge through to building a solution.

  • What might be the role of design when we think about learning spaces?

The role of design when we think of learning spaces is becoming more crucial considering the imperative to develop student’s curiosity, creativity (think Sir Ken Robinson), entrepreneurship (think Yong Zhao). Temple (2010, p. 16) highlights design’s ability to find creative solutions to challenges. Learning spaces – what is a definition of a learning space in today’s world? Physical learning spaces, inside, outside; digital spaces … designed to meet the diverse learning needs of the students.



Brown, T. (2009). Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. HarperCollins: New York.

The Design Council. (2007). The Value of Design Factfinder Report. Retrieved from

Faggella, D. (2014). Why design matters for domestic robots: Cultural differences around the world should be factored into the design of commercial robots. Futurist, 48(2), pp. 7-8.

IDEO. (2012). Design thinking for Educators. 2nd Ed. Retrieved online from

Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking. Boston: Pearson.

Morrison, R. (2005, February 21). From teapot to table: why design matters. The Times, London. Retrieved online via Proquest.

Seidel, V., & Fixson, S. (2013). Adopting design thinking in novice multidisciplinary teams: The application and limits of design methods and reflexive practices. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 30, 19–33.

TED Talks. (2009, September 30). Tim Brown urges designers to think big. Retrieved from

Temple, M. (2010). The Design Council: A review. Department for Business, Industry and Skills (UK). Retrieved from:

Wisniewski, M. (2014). Why design matters more than ever in digital banking. American Banker, 179(36), p. 10.

Zollit, A. (2004). Why design matters more. American Demographics, 26(8), pp. 52-53. Retrieved from via Ebsco Host

About plee

I am a Teacher Librarian and Learning Technologies Co-ordinator at a Catholic Primary School in Sydney's Hills District.
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