Design is(n’t) Everything

Questioning Design’s All-Important Role

When you browse the web, you’ll often come across the sentence ‘design is everything’. It is one of those cliche phrases that we’ve all grown so tired to read – not necessarily because they’re not factual, but rather because it offers nothing more than an overly-simplistic statement.

But is this sentence even based on a factual view of the world? Let’s talk about it.

Chaos vs. Order

Let’s start by looking at two classic rival concepts – of chaos and order.

Why start from what seemingly seems like the dawn of time? Because the contraposition of chaos on one side and order on the other can be helpful in contextualising the claim that ‘design is everything’.

Humans have tried to give order to the world since the very start. For life to take place as smoothly and efficiently and incident-free as possible, humans have had to try and give it as much order as was possible at a given moment in history. And that has always been the goal that humans as a collective have strived towards the most throughout their life.

Chaos, on the other hand, brings disruption, inefficiency, tragedy, and ultimately makes life on Earth worse in pretty much any way possible.

Among the tools that humans have come up with to help give life order there’s design. So we can state that design is ultimately a major force for order.

But that’s merely one of the aspects of design. And we can’t yet conclude on whether ‘design is everything’ by having only identified one of the things that design definitely is.

Design is Order, Design is… ?

Design = Order.

That we can all agree with. Yet, design is much, much more.

But is it… everything?We can’t yet say.

Can we confidently say that, throughout human history, design has been behind many major innovations – cultural, social or technological – that the world has seen? We can.

Can we say that design has singlehandedly led to the world’s major innovations, be them cultural, social, or technological? That we can not.

Well then, then it’s possible to conclude that design is, in fact, NOT everything.

Design Isn’t Everything. But Is it Everywhere?

Another typical statement one can easily encounter online is ‘design is everywhere’.

This statement is also disputable because while design can certainly be found in many places, it is not exactly everywhere.

Of course, these cliché statements don’t have the pretense of being actually true. They just want to highlight the fact that design can be encountered pretty much in every place where humans have been, as it’s been one of the main mediums through which they’ve given an order to the world around them and helped communicate and innovate.

The Future of Design as We Know It

Going forward, will design be more or less important compared to right now?

Hard to say, but it’s possible to make an educated guess. Given how design is, more than ever before, ‘everywhere, it’s easy to guess that we’ll see the importance of design as medium increase. In fact, there are many fields where previously it wasn’t used as now, or even at all.

What is certain, though, is that design is not only set to be ever-present in our daily lifes, but to actually shape them to an extent that it hasn’t before.

. . .

Gianmarco Caprio Avatar

Gianmarco Caprio / Content & Community Manager @ Phase

Content creator, editor and community manager at Phase.