Great Design isn’t Created, it is Waiting to be Discovered

Tip Ton ChairAmazing design speaks to us on an unconscious level.  We appreciate it without knowing all of the pain and suffering that the designer went through to get to the final product.  We appreciate it because of its utility or simplicity and its ability to add value to our lives through beauty, or helping us solve a problem in our daily lives.  This is why Apple products resonate: they solve problems we all have (technology is confusing and hard to understand) and do it in a way that is beautiful.

This evening, as I sit in the Admiral’s Club lounge in LAX, I was browsing through the beautifully designed products on Dwell.  Some of these products are high art, and are priced as such.  Some are crafty reboots of timeless classics, with added details of beauty or utility.  One such product is the Tip Ton Chair, a take on a chair a school child would use.

The Tip Ton is a beautiful, useful product, but what caught my eye wasn’t the chair, it was the quote from the chair’s designer, Edward Barber:

“We knew what the problems were but weren’t yet aware of the solutions”

This quote perfectly captures the process of design.  Wonderful designs aren’t created, they are out there, waiting to be discovered.  Only in order to discover them, you first have to understand the problem that needs to be solved.

Paul Young

Paul Young

Paul Young oversees the strategic development of Pragmatic Institute’s portfolio of products and leads the executive team in the evaluation of new product opportunities. He also manages the instructor team. Paul began his career as a software developer and has worked in startups and large companies across B2B and B2C industries, including telecommunications and networking, IT and professional services, consumer electronics and enterprise software. He has managed P&L lines for products with hundreds of millions in revenue, and faced difficult choices about which products in the portfolio to retain and which to kill. Reach him at

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