Defining ‘Goodness’


“Good design makes a product useful. A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it. Good design is aesthetic.”

- Interaction Design Foundation’s definition of good design, adapted from Deiter Rams’ Manifesto written in 1976


That said, what are the other ways of describing goodness in Design? Julian Hanna from SpeculativeEdu came up with this list of pointers for Good Design, to add to Deiter Rams’ Manifesto, through a speculative & critical design (SCD) lens:

What are the other ways of defining the ‘good’ in good design?

Everyone’s definition of good can (and should) vary; can there be a way of creating conscious conversations on articulating this personal ethos of goodness in good design?

In a recent course with Dipendra Baoni of Lemon Design, we tried to look at design holistically, and came up with this alternative to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which is something that drives design decisions at more places than it should.

The humane model:

Then i tried mapping out people’s responses to “what makes design good?” against this humane scale.

<<further reading:
The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
Design for the Real World by Victor Papanek
Designing Design by Kenya Hara>>