Collective Action

Design is meant to be a multidisciplinary activity, in which practitioners collaborate (co-labor) constructively and critically. Decisions are made collectively. I don't believe in design rock stars, and I don't work with people who claim to be one. 


Design is Always Political

Design shapes our worlds. This sounds like a grandiose statement, but I think the common view that design is purely aesthetic has caused immeasurable damage to humans and their environment. A sustainable future hinges on design practitioners' ability to choose which futures are preferable, even in the face of commercial forces. What we introduce into the world will always have social, cultural, and ethical consequences, which should be weighed against profit motives.


Systems Over Individuals

I tend to be a proponent of human-centered design, but I also believe that current instantiations of HCD forget about the complexity of human-environment relationships. Not only should design serve human needs, it should also not forget about the systems in which humans exist. Holistic, ecological thinking is necessary to design not only for people but also for the complex interactions people have with their environment and each other.


Academic Rigor With Realistic Constraints

Too often, we tend to think about academia and industry as separate entities. My work attempts to blur the line, maintaining the rigor involved with academic design work but balancing it against the constraints of commercial design. 


You Don't Need to Be a Designer to Practice Design

Everyone designs, but not everyone is a designer. It's a subtle and idiosyncratic difference, but it is there. I teach people design principles and skills, regardless of what their business card says.