The Three Kinds of Design

There are three kinds of design in play when it comes to digital technologies. One kind of design, that I call “classical design,” is the most dominant — it has to do with making things beautiful and shiny. It’s an old way of design, that much of the technology world is stuck in today because it’s what is practiced the most. The way it works is simple: 1. A feature is conceived and engineered so that it works, and then 2. a designer is brought in to make the feature “pretty.” This is commonly called “lipstick on a pig” — which means that it’s when you bring in design to cosmetically enhance that which is, underneath it all, a less palatable option. This is the least impactful kind of design and use of design talent, and happens quite naturally when it comes to how most developers work with designers. But it isn’t the developers fault — it’s mainly the designers’ fault. I’ll explain why in my WCEU talk, and hope to spark discussions about how design can be leveraged best in the WordPress community.