7 designer TED talks you need to see today

If you don’t already know that TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, then you’re probably not involved in the industry! The world famous TED series of conferences is an annual event run by the NPO Sapling Foundation.

One of the best things about the TED talks is that they cover a wide array of topics within the sphere of science & culture’s research and practice and many of the talks are entertaining as the speaker is more like a storyteller than a talking head.

ted talksSo, if you are having something of a creative block as a designer, here are 7 TED talks compiled by Niall O’Loughlin of 99designs that will hopefully inspire you towards greatness!

1. Tom Wujec – ‘Got a wicked problem?

Tom Wujec is one of the best in the world when it comes to business visualisation; he knows how to use design & technology to help people understand ideas and solve problems. In this interesting talk, he explains that asking someone to draw how to make toast reveals an awful lot; it’s a savvy example because it is a simple everyday process that has a lot of steps when you break it down.

In summary, Wujec shows that you should try to break a complicated project down by using images connected with arrows in a flow chart.

2. Chris Downey – ‘Design with the blind in mind

According to experienced architect Chris Downey, there are two types of people: ‘those who have disabilities and those who have yet to discover theirs’. Downey has been an architect for more than 20 years but four years ago, he lost his eyesight. Instead of allowing it to ruin his life, he discovered a new way of seeing things.

Downey says that when you design a city with the blind in mind, you will end up in a well connected, robust and accessible place; this is a lesson all designers can take on board.

3. Jinsop Lee – ‘Design for all 5 senses

Jinsop Lee is an industrial designer and he believes that truly great design will appeal to all five senses in what he calls ‘The Five Senses Theory’. In this TED talk, Lee says that you must be able to incorporate all five senses into your design. If you can achieve this, you will give people a truly immersive experience.

4. John Maeda – ‘Designing for simplicity

John Maeda has written a book entitled ‘The Laws of Simplicity’ and in this TED talk, he eloquently puts across his idea that the simplest designs can often be the best. Rather than spelling out the answers (you need to buy the book for that), he discusses how simplicity and complexity intertwine using examples that should be familiar to most designers.

5. Don Norman – ‘ 3 ways good design makes you happy

Don Norman is the author of ‘The Design of Everyday Things’ and is also a design critic and cognitive scientist so he is well placed to provide you with some important information on design. According to Norman, there are three emotional cues designers can use to make people happy:

  • Conscious
  • Subconscious
  • Reflective

Watch the video to find out how to use these three things to make people happy!

6. Sebastian Deterding – ‘What your designs say about you

This is a TED talk that really makes you think! Sebastian Deterding is a designer and in this video he discusses the fact that the design of the objects around us is a reflection of our visions of morality and the good life. If you are looking for a video that causes you to take a hard, long look at things, this could be the one. Yes, even the chair you sit on says something about your value!

7. Paul Bennett – ‘Design is in the details

The title of the video probably makes you think it will be just another rehashed look at a well-known saying in design but in this instance, Paul Bennett turns his focus to the small problems designers face and their solutions. He is a creative director at Ideo, an influential design and innovation company. According to Bennett, small, personal and intimate ideas can have more of an impact than so-called ‘big’ ideas.

Hopefully, the above videos will give you a fresh perspective on things and allow you to return to your work with an improved mindset that will ultimately yield great things.

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