Monthly Archives: May 2006

Design + Strategy

We’re still alive! It’s been a long, long break and to be honest, I have been incredibly busy and perhaps a bit burned out. I missed blogging but can’t say I didn’t enjoy/need a bit of a break.Typically I get inspired to blog about something by something that happens in my everyday life, whether design-related or not. In this case, I happened to be working on a very extensive client project where my firm’s role was chiefly that of development. Unfortunately the strategy, and specifically the design strategy, was handled by individuals on the client team who didn’t know anything about design strategy.Part of the problem is that too many clients, and designers for that matter, think of strategy as an area that exists outside of the core competencies of design as opposed to an extension of the design process. And few designers list design strategy as one of their core competencies, this author included.Seeing the wordsWell I’m a visual person and one of my newest and most favorite toys is the Visual Thesaurus, which is an excellent tool! I created a visual map for the word “design” as well as a visual map for the word “strategy” just to see what came up. The results are below.

What’s interesting is that a lot of words that many people would usually associate with the word strategy (but were not on the strategy visual map) were closely associated with the word design. As you can see, many words like “purpose, intention, intent, figure, blueprint, pattern, specify, designate, destine, think, plan, innovation, invention, excogitation, conception, study, conceptualize and conceive”.Why the disconnect between the denotation for the word design and the connotation? Why is it that, despite the obvious denotational similarities between the words design and strategy, few of us ever put the two words together or think they belong in the same universe?Food for thought. This is my first entry in months so I can’t get too deep right off the bat! ;-).chris{}