Thinking Design Thinking

Do you notice design?

Design is the creation of a plan or convention for the construction of an object or a system (as in architectural blueprints, engineering drawings, business processes, circuit diagrams and sewing patterns).


Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.

Paul Rand

In my posts this year on the future Productive Workplace I considered that the Design Mindset was one of the core 2020 skills. So it shouldn’t be surprising that in recent years many of the large technology vendors have sought to build a new design framework for their products.

Apple has always been regarded as the leader in design (I’m not going to comment on whether that’s deserved or not). For many years Apple has followed a model of skeuomorphic design. In technology it’s perhaps easiest to understand skeuomorphic design by an example; if you open an earlier version of the notebook application on an iPhone it looked like a physical notebook. The use of the physical notebook as a representation of a notebook function on an iPhone is skeuomorphic design.

Apple has been moving away from skeuomorphic design for a couple of years now. In changing its design method to something much flatter Apple are following a trend that Microsoft had kick started in the technology arena back in 2010.

Microsoft’s philosophy of Flat Design (or Modern Design) had begun as far back at 2006 with the Zune design, but it is based on an approach to design that goes back to the 1950s and 1960s.

Google followed Microsoft’s lead into flatter design by creating its own design language called Material Design in 2014.

IBM has been the most resent entrant (from the technology arena) into design languages with the announcement of IBM Design Language. Again this is a flattened design approach.

So why all of this change and why is everyone going flat? Well the answer to that question can wait for another time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: