Journey to design: Hello there!

Insights on design from a Netflix series

Swetha Krishnaswamy
3 min readMar 6, 2021

When was the last time a conversation evoked a deep sense of awe in you?

I was rather awestruck with an apparent one. All kudos to an episode of Abstract, hosted by Olafur Eliasson. Here are some key takeaways from this show, which can serve as a good starting point to understand design:

  • It is the viewer who makes the art as they see it in their own way — a corollary of the beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.
  • Everybody knows rainbows! Usually wired in that, we as humans consider ourselves to be a separate entity from nature. We take its ever-presence for granted. After all, there is nothing unusual about a rainbow. Olafur broadens the thought — we’re nature ourselves, trivially, yet when we observe, we can witness such marvellous interactions — intense, and mild in our daily lives. If only we paid attention to the small cues nature throws at us every day. We could learn how to better interact and engage with anyone or anything, taking lessons from how nature does so with us.
  • Track your curiosity to its source and further, pre-source — what I term to be the space before the idea entered. It may show you intangibles, more felt.
  • Address your fear on its face. It’d drive you to this spot wherein whatever you make, you stay authentic.

I’ve ventured into this world to learn and communicate in the beautiful language of design. It means a certain kind of freedom to go beyond the trivialities and beyond What You See Is All There Is. When I’m authentic, and in a non-judgemental space, I can let others in and engage better with each other and make our lives more qualitative and enriching.

Gap between the design intent and user experience makes it a poor design.
The gap between the design intent and user experience makes it a poor design.

Poor designs become the bottleneck and lead most of us to take our everyday objects for granted.

An empathetic design draws the user to the design intent space, for starters.

What then would good design be? Good design evokes a sense of awe — awaken the artist in the users, gets them onboarded with us designers — together and yet in our respective journeys.

A collaborative co-creative space for design.

A union of such kind embraces that reality is relative and hence can co-create itself as it flows with the viewer (or user).

The amalgamation of these thoughts may lead to a space of better clarity to make or work with tangibles in hand.

Watch the show, as he’d speak to you, and come back so we shall continue to indulge in more of such design muse.