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What design really is

The key quality or function of design is to connect people with ideas and experiences that can transform their lives. To regard it simply as how things look is a limited view. It’s impossible to design without understanding who the people are for whom you are designing and what outcome is desired. Without a handle on that, you’re really just decorating. That’s not to say there's anything wrong with decorating, but don’t mistake it for design. Design needs to be thought of in greater terms than the visual. In many cases, especially on the Web, the visual is simply the medium through which the design is experienced. In other words, design is a whole system of which the visual is only a part.