DESIGN: INTENTIONAL AND UNINTENTIONAL
This reading from the Equity-Centered Community Design Field Guide felt closely related to some of our other readings. I particularly enjoyed how the guide breaks down some important equity-centered design terms into clear, succinct definitions in the “language setting” section.
One of these definitions felt especially important.
DESIGN IS THE INTENTION (AND UNINTENTIONAL IMPACT) BEHIND AN OUTCOME.
This stood out to me immediately. I love how the guide expanded on IBM’s original definition, which didn’t include the phrase in parentheses. Design isn’t just what you set out to do – it’s what outcomes are generated by the process and any feedback that is received. A scenario is designed from ideation to fruition, and I think that’s easy to forget.
This is something I struggle with in my job at Handled. In school, there isn’t a technical client – we design primarily as an exercise for ourselves, a way to better our practice by creating and receiving critique. When I’m designing advertisements for Facebook, any concerns about practicality, legibility and scalability are amplified. A suggestion to make text bigger isn’t just a suggestion; it’s a need.
It’s easy to separate design school from “real” design, and I often do. This year I’m making a conscious effort to think about my work and its implications: Is it accessible? Is it intentional? Does it make sense?
I think it’s important to prepare for a world which needs design more than anything. I want to be inclusive and have a lasting impact with my work. While continuing to experiment and push myself aesthetically, I need to consider the importance of a practical and meaningful outcome with each project.
︎ EQUITY CENTERED COMMUNITY DESIGN FIELD GUIDE