What is Design?

Adit Kohli
2 min readApr 9, 2020

I have always felt a bit perplexed trying to explain what I do for a living. When I say I am a designer, it frequently results in the misunderstanding that my job is to make apps, websites and digital products “look pretty”. If I take the next step and muster up enough courage to introduce myself as a design leader, it almost always garners looks of confusion, especially in those outside the technology industry.

So I thought of starting out with a “definition” of what Design really means, regardless of the domain or industry it is applied to.

Design means …

· Making beautiful, attractive solutions THAT make lives better for people

· Translating an idea into something that’s viable, desirable and adds value to people’s lives

· Going beyond the aesthetics associated with products; and focusing on what people want and need and dream of, then crafting experiences that are meaningful and relevant for customers.

· Turning hard into easy; sad into hopeful; frightening into playful, complexity into efficiency

· Making a monumental improvement in the status quo to get people to change their behaviors and their lives

What Design is not?

· It isn’t simply pixel-pushing. It isn’t simply about the surface. It isn’t about how things look.

· It isn’t about being simply beautiful unless it solves a user need. Aesthetics are important, but only a part of a bigger picture.

· It isn’t art where artists can simply follow their creative impulses. Designers work in a commercial environment, which means there is a huge number of considerations and constraints that come to bear on the design process.

So as designers, no matter what industry we are in — whether we create digital or physical products and whether we have an enterprise or consumer focus — we have an opportunity to drive successful business results in a way that also impacts people’s lives.

“Everything is designed… few things are designed well” — Brian Reed

Now that we have looked at the general overview of design, next, we’ll talk about how these principles apply to the area of digital design.