Essays & Articles


Humanity-Centered versus Human-Centered Design


Human-Centered Design works well for mass-produced products and traditional products and services. But today, we owe our allegiance far beyond individual people -- we owe it to all humanity.

February 26, 2022

4 minutes read

To create a better society: The 2020 MP Ranjan memorial lecture


The great spiritual and humanistic power of design has been lost in its current emphasis upon business and industry. Design can be much more powerful than that: Design is a way of thinking that can be applied to almost any issue, but most importantly, to the major societal issues facing the world.

November 20, 2020

21 minutes read

The Future of Design Education


Does design education prepare designers to work with the multidisciplinary teams required for the complex issues of the 21st Century? Join us in rethinking design education. Help us find people who will provide diversity of age, gender, race, interests, socioeconomic status, and political views.

July 13, 2020

4 minutes read

21st Century Design (In 6 minutes)


The 21s Century brings new challenges to design The implication? Design Education must change.

May 13, 2020

1 minute read

Changing Design Education for the 21st Century


Updated: April 2, 2020. We recommend a procedure for updating design education through curricula that match their goals and abilities of every school, producing practitioner and academics who will fully realizing the value of design in the 21st century.

March 10, 2020

4 minutes read

The Future of Design: When you come to a fork in the road, take it


Design started out as a craft, primarily focusing upon the creation of beautiful objects to become a powerful force in industry. Today, design has gone far beyond its simple origins as a craft to develop powerful new ways for people to interact with the world, emphasizing experience, not technolo...

April 23, 2016

18 minutes read

Design at UCSD: Think Observe Make


The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) has asked me to return to help develop a Design program. How could I resist? Starting June 1, I return to be Director of Design at UCSD, housed in the California Institute for Telecommunication and Information Technology (Calit2). We start off with s...

May 8, 2014

1 minute read

State of Design: How Design Education Must Change


For design to succeed, grow, achieve its potential, and train future leaders, we envision a new curriculum. In our vision, these new programs combine learning the art and craft of beautiful, pleasurable well-crafted design with substantive courses in the social and biological sciences, in technol...

March 20, 2014

7 minutes read

How To Find a Job or Graduate School in Design or HCI

Ask Don

I'm frequently asked how to find a job or a place to study, either in industrial design or user-interface design (Human-Computer Interaction). Rather than answer it anew each time, let me summarize my answer here. You either need real work experience or a graduate degree, or both. I cannot tell ...

July 5, 2012

10 minutes read

Design Education: Brilliance Without Substance


We are now in the 21st century, but design curricula seem stuck in the mid 20th century. In the 21st century, design has broadened to include interaction and experience, services and strategies. The technologies are more sophisticated, involving advanced materials, computation, communication, sen...

August 27, 2011

14 minutes read

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