While researching a paper in college, I came across a short video with an incredibly insightful speaker discussing the very topic I was studying. This happened to be one of the TED Talks, 18-minute-or-less presentations packed with enlightening perspectives from today’s leaders in technology, entertainment and design (the source of the TED acronym).
If you haven’t watched a TED talk before, the setup has kind of an Inside the Actor’s Studio feel with a brightly lit stage, projector and an audience of like-minded people, colleagues and fellow speakers—only in a short monologue platform.
Design is an important part of the TED conference (it is the “D” after all), so there’s plenty to choose from if you’re seeking inspiration in that area. But the ones below really delve into the importance and value of good design, whether it be product oriented, the human relationship with design or the architectural heights it can reach. One thing I learned from each of these is that design is not only beautiful, but synonymous with problem-solving, in the most elegant way possible.
These five TED Talks should be at the top of the playlists of any and all design enthusiasts.
Don Norman on Design and Emotion
The title gives a lot away, but this talk from design critic Don Norman explores our natural attraction to good design and the psychology behind it. In this positive discussion, Norman gives insight on how we perceive, react and gravitate toward certain types of design products.
Philippe Stark Thinks Deep on Design
The man behind the design. In this casual yet charming talk, French design icon Philippe Starck lets you in to reveal his own unique design process. To be honest, Starck’s French accent helps make this TED Talk a truly enjoyable experience.
The Design Genius of Charles and Ray Eames
You know them for their famous chairs and furnishings. But their grandson, Eames Demtrios, takes you on a journey to get to know the real Charles and Ray Eames. It includes a series of home and professional videos the couple shot in the midst of creating their most iconic designs.
Cameron Sinclair on Open Source Architecture
Design can often be flashy and full of lofty ideals—but it can also be responsible and sustainable as well. Cameron Sinclair discusses his goal to create a network of “open-source architecture” that solves problems on a local level around the world.
Tony Fadell: The First Secret of Design is Noticing
With quite an impressive resume of developing the iPod and then becoming the founder of Nest, it seems there is nothing Tony Fadell can’t do. For such a giant of technology, this talk is quite humble and gets to the roots of good design just by “noticing.”