Research: what designed thing is the worst in history?


This was a fun twitter research question I asked last week. Of course, since people self-select and many folks who follow me work in tech or are designers the answers aren’t quite representative of what most people would say.

The way I asked the question could have been better – I mean I think that things like the Nazi regime are probably in the top 10 (and with our problems today, use of those ideas is still alive), as well as the design of our entire consumer goods industry which is the major contributor to greenhouse gases that will likely be the end of us all. But it’s natural for people to think of “designed things” as devices and gadgets, things we interact with directly at a human scale.

That said, here’s the list:

What’s missing? Leave a comment. Thanks.

A book on Design Literacy for Everyone


Everything we use, from social media, to our homes, to our highways, was designed by someone. But how did they decide on what was good for the rest of us? What did they get right and where have they let us down? And what can we learn from the way these experts think that can help us in how we make decisions in our own lives?

This book will takes readers on a thrilling journey through their daily lives, exploring how designers of all kinds, from software engineers, to urban planners, have succeeded and failed us. By offering a fresh way to think about everyday life and the impact of technology on how we live, readers will learn to see the world in a new and powerful way. They’ll see better ways to manage projects, make decisions and understand how creative people develop good ideas. They’ll ask better questions of the things they buy, use, and make, and discover how fun it can be to use ideas from great designers to improve their everyday lives.

The Mission (Draft!)

mission, teaching

The only way more people will understand good design is if designers show the way.

We need a movement for designers that empowers them with resources, guidance and leadership to be design ambassadors: experts who teach, inspire and inform others about why design is important and how to recognize when it’s done well.

I’m building a community to lead the way in making this happen. The four goals are:

  1. Provide a forum for design ambassadors to support each other
  2. Create resources designers can use in their workplaces
  3. Promote success stories and tactics that can be easily reused
  4. Recruit designers to join and coach them in the skills they need

Join now and help design this movement from the beginning:

Success! You're on the list.

“are we ready to embrace… our own responsibility to help the world at large understand what design actually is?”

Khoi Vinh