Image: Vitra Design Museum by schoeband under creative commons

We’re nearly at the end of our month-long focus on design, but before we go we have one more question for our Debating Design blog.  Today we’re asking you to ponder:

Question 5:

“What are the greatest challenges facing design today?”

Tell us what you think are the hurdles and barriers facing designers by posting your thoughts in the comments box below.




Image: bbaunach under creative commons

Today we are asking not for your words but for your pictures. We want you to submit one image which sums up great design for you. It could be anything, from a pair of shoes to an impressive piece of architecture to the latest technological gadget. Post your great design pictures in the comments section below. 

Question 4:

“What one image sums up great design for you?”




Image: :::Radar Communication ::: under creative commons.

Without further ado we move swiftly on to our next design question:

Question 3:

“What are the appliances of the future?”

What can you see the world using in 10, 20, 100 years time?

Join in the discussion and add your comments below.




Image: Sterlic under creative commons

Thanks to everyone who chipped in with their thoughts on great design thinkers. Today we unleash our second question. Whether you’re a designer or not we want your thoughts on the following:

Question 2: “Why do great ideas fail?”

Tell us your examples of ideas which should of, but never made it off the ground. Why not? What are the factors that drive and influence success? Add your musings to the comments section below.



Image: loungerie under creative commons

Today we start our month long focus on design, exploring in particular the value of design and how it affects every part of our lives.

Throughout February we’ll be regularly posting some of the most pressing and probing questions facing the design world today. This is where you come in: we want you to comment, rant, debate and let us know what you think in response to the questions we pose. Don’t be shy, this is an opportunity to really get your teeth into some of the issues that face designers today, whether you’re part of the design community or not.

Remember to bookmark this page where we’ll be revealing each of our design-themed questions and browse the Focus on Design blogs, where images and video will be added throughout the month. Look out too for blogs from our members and guests and if you feel inspired to write you own, remember to tell us about it for others to find and read.

Question 1:

“Which design thinkers do you find the most inspiring?”


Member comments transferred from previous website:

AndyH:  Design is being powered up by enlightened ‘non-creatives’ giving serious recognition of the design thinking (DT) process to super charge business opportunities. DT is a methodology required to deal with complexity in every detail of product, service or communication design. Through society’s wider use of the design thinking process, design as a discipline is evolving. I think that situation has arrived now as a result of designers being required to process so much complexity with people’s needs at the core. Reassuringly for all designers, ‘Design Thinking’ is a relatively new story but not a new process. Designers perceive problems in a different way from other disciplines. For example, designers see paradoxes as a starting point, where managers hate them (often using avoidance as a tactic). Managers love ‘reliability’ of outcomes, designers love ‘validity’ of ideas through experimentation. The way designers deal with the challenge of complexity is by reasoning with successive approximations (iterations) for example, a prototype solution, to some designers, that has always been the way, for others, not so much. Roger Martin calls this adductive thinking.

2. Planned obsolescence – the challenge is to use ‘design thinking’ to reverse irresponsible production and make more sustainable and compelling propositions.

3. Design of public services- using design methodologies to engage with users to find better ways to help people and reduce financial waste.

4. All this design thinking takes time. Ask any designers; how big is that challenge?


emlyn:  Sorry to throw a lateral wet blanket over Q4 and be no fun, but this is throwing up more questions than answers for me…

Almost everything is designed. What elevates something to ‘great’ design? is there even such a thing? Presumably it needs to tick lots of boxes? Is ‘great’ a label bestowed upon something, like the Routemaster bus, which is seen as both purposeful and iconic?
The more certain objects and brands command an army of devotees, the more i become suspicious of their worth.

The Space Shuttle, the Hubble Telescope, or the CERN Hedron Collidermethingabob are all impressive designs which are testament to how clever the human race is, though we might categorise them as more of a science and technology feat.

The big ‘thing’ in design in the past decade has been Transformation and Service design – Hilary Cottam won designer of the year at the Design Museum in 2005 for her work with prison and health services – which indicated a shift away for design from an obsession over objects or static outcomes.

Apologies again, this was meant to be the picture round. Well here you go. This blog is set in Helvetica. Every designers favourite.


CotroG: Q4: http://artmight.com/Artists/H.R.Giger/hr-giger-alien-IV-8396p.html Giger’s Alien. I’m no designer, but for me it’s the ultimate slick villan.


AndyH: Laundry System wanted now.

Just realised how much we need an central appliance to fill the washing machine from the central dirty laundry basket. Then it needs to wash, empty, dry and reload the next load of clothes. Perhaps with an optional App to get my favourite shirt ready as a priority. Is it going to far to have it ironed by the time I need it?