Questions to Ask Yourself as a Designer

David Plick — 

“Your [designers] were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” –Jeff Goldblum

Currently at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in Manhattan is an exhibit called Process Lab: Citizen Design. This interactive exhibit compels attendees to embark on the design process in its most primitive and critical stage through asking yourself fundamental questions all designed to get people to think: what is my purpose?

This exhibit is for the general public, yet we see everyday that it’s so easy for a professional designer, architect or artist to lose sight of that because we can get so wrapped up in the building process. Sometimes the last thing anyone wants to consider while we are creating and ideating, shaping and reshaping our product, is whether or not the design meets its primary purpose. If it didn’t, that would mean we’d have to start over again.

At Cooper Hewitt, they’re forcing us to get back to basics with these simple approaches.


Is your goal to get people healthier by riding their bike more often? Do you want people to read more? This value: family, diversity, or health, shapes the entire approach of the design process.

Take your value, then use it to formulate a design question. This question is what your design seeks to solve.

Now that your question has been formulated, what are the tools you can use to solve the problem?

Write down your process as you proceed.

Decide what to design to solve the problem: an underpass, a warehouse, a plaza, sidewalk or parking lot.

What are the questions you ask yourself as a designer? Do you ever stop to consider if the design is aligned with your values?

By: David Plick

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