Prologue

Prologue

Designing Responsibly

The Way of Hope

The Way of Hope

Designing Responsibly

Some of the most profound moments in my life have come not from discovering something completely new or revolutionary, but rather from being reminded of a truth that’s been there all along.

Some of the most profound moments in my life have come not from discovering something completely new or revolutionary, but rather from being reminded of a truth that’s been there all along.


This may be, in part, what attracted me to the field of design. Design is a beautiful challenge of discovering what’s often already there or, as Michelangelo put it, what’s already living within the marble. This discovery doesn’t start with an answer. It starts with a question. 

Questions are a part of life. They form our conversations, and they inform our work. They’re foundational to who we are as humans. Show me a human, and I will show you an infinite ocean of curiosity. But my favorite thing about a question is that it provides room for hope.

Over the last several years I have become enamored with one particular question:


This may be, in part, what attracted me to the field of design. Design is a beautiful challenge of discovering what’s often already there or, as Michelangelo put it, what’s already living within the marble. This discovery doesn’t start with an answer. It starts with a question.

Questions are a part of life. They form our conversations, and they inform our work. They’re foundational to who we are as humans. Show me a human, and I will show you an infinite ocean of curiosity. But my favorite thing about a question is that it provides room for hope.

How do we design responsibly?

How do we design responsibly?

It’s not an overstatement to say that asking this question changed the trajectory of my career and my practice as a designer. Asking this question made everything feel more consequential, more meaningful. Not only that, asking this felt so timely. In an age where we can barely rationalize the progress and innovation being made, considering this has made me pause and think more clearly.

So, after several years of endless thought and a lot of red ink, I decided to formulate a definition to this concept of responsible design.

It’s not an overstatement to say that asking this question changed the trajectory of my career and my practice as a designer. Asking this question made everything feel more consequential, more meaningful. Not only that, asking this felt so timely. In an age where we can barely rationalize the progress and innovation being made, considering this has made me pause and think more clearly.

So, after several years of endless thought and a lot of red ink, I decided to formulate a definition to this concept of responsible design.

responsible design:

a discipline principally concerned with practicing in an ecosystem, honoring that community with its solutions, and sharing in the responsibility of its outcomes.

a discipline principally concerned with practicing in an ecosystem, honoring that community with its solutions, and sharing in the responsibility of its outcomes.


Though it feels really complex, I assure you that it’s beautiful in its simplicity. Easy? No. But simple? Yes.

Simplified, responsible design can be broken down into three main principles:

Though it feels really complex, I assure you that it’s beautiful in its simplicity. Easy? No. But simple? Yes.

Simplified, responsible design can be broken down into three main principles:

Be curious.

Learn your surroundings by practicing from within an ecosystem.

Learn your surroundings by practicing from within an ecosystem.

Be thoughtful.

Honor that community with solutions formed from this new understanding.

Honor that community with solutions formed from this new understanding.

Be humble.

Admit that you will fail, adapt well, and share in the responsibility.

Admit that you will fail, adapt well, and share in the responsibility.


You can view this entire book as an exploration using these very principles to answer the question I’ve been wrestling with all these years. Each chapter seeks to fill in the blank,

You can view this entire book as an exploration using these very principles to answer the question I’ve been wrestling with all these years. Each chapter seeks to fill in the blank,

“Responsible design ________________.”

“Responsible design ________________.”

Responsible design teaches us that there are real people in real places behind every sketch that could cover a whiteboard. It provides us with an entirely new vantage point.

Design is so much more than creating pretty things. It challenges the status quo and creates change. Change that can solve some of the world’s toughest problems simply by advocating for the humans impacted by them. Design is not passive. Design is not self serving. Design is hopeful. And, most importantly: Design does.

Responsible design teaches us that there are real people in real places behind every sketch that could cover a whiteboard. It provides us with an entirely new vantage point.

Design is so much more than creating pretty things. It challenges the status quo and creates change. Change that can solve some of the world’s toughest problems simply by advocating for the humans impacted by them. Design is not passive. Design is not self serving. Design is hopeful. And, most importantly: Design does.

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Chapter 01.

This is your book.

This is your book.

Simply put, this book lives wherever you live. It’s free, and you can start reading it any time you’d like. It’s created to humbly evolve alongside the community it was written for.

Simply put, this book lives wherever you live. It’s free, and you can start reading it any time you’d like. It’s created to humbly evolve alongside the community it was written for.

COMING SOON

Design Does was written & produced by Jeremy D. CherryTypeset in GT Sectra Display, IBM Plex Sans, & Cardo.

Design Does. was written & produced by Jeremy D. CherryTypeset in GT Sectra Display, IBM Plex Sans, & Cardo.

Design Does. was written & produced by Jeremy D. CherryTypeset in GT Sectra Display, IBM Plex Sans, & Cardo.

License — CC BY-NC-ND

License — CC BY-NC-SA

License — CC BY-NC-SA