Based on Adam’s writeup I picked Universal Principles of Design – a new book by Will Lidwell, Kritina Holden, and Jill Butler – down off the shelf and subsequently to the cash register. Adam’s take on it is accurate. Given my experience teaching – where people with undergraduate degrees in communication design from the Parsons School of Design still don’t know many of these principles – I’d say just about every novice to advanced designer could benefit from this book.
The book does a very good job at talking in simple ways that cut across design disciplines. It simultaneously shows the application of a principle to the Macintosh GUI and the Segway. Rare are the times when graphic, industrial, architectural, and software designers have overlapping areas of interest. The qualities of various sorts of rubber will keep industrial designers talking all night, and I couldn’t care less, and furthermore couldn’t keep up even if I did care. For this reason I’m curious to see where other efforts to unite these designers will go. One such effort is Interaction Designers, a group that strives to speak across these boundaries.
Another is the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, and specifically the Hub, a community blog launched by the lovely Molly Steenson. Here Andrew sums up the difficult going in early posts as well as the great potential. The same sort of immediate sharing and the resulting learning that blogging has given many of us threatened to leave universities behind. Likewise, there are topics covered in these schools that aren’t disseminated to the rest of us, and this blog becomes a welcome conduit.