Design As Value, Understanding + Design

Sources / Additional Reading Consilience Is-Ought Problem Levels of Analysis - You Are A Strange Loop Healthline: What Is The Placebo Effect Penn & Teller (BS) - Water Taste Test How Brands Got Depressed - Wisecrack Vlog WOKE BRANDS Monet - Haystacks

Key Takeaways

• DESIGN ISN’T JUST VISUALS: There’s a lot more going than just people looking at pictures and words.

• FIND THE VALUE: When starting a design, first identify what’s being valued, and how to articulate it.

• BE MINDFUL: Advertising is heading in a strange direction. Be mindful of what brands are selling you. It’s often no longer a product.

Lecture Outline:

Various Pieces of Evidence Pointing Towards A Common Theme

  • The consilience approach

Premise 1: Value precludes action

  • You need to value something in order to act
  • The context and the desired outcome determine the action
  • Everything is a value judgement
  • You cannot derive an “ought” statement from an “is” statement

Premise 2: All Levels Of Analysis Are Right Simultaneously

  • Micro >> Local >> Macro, all are true

Premise 3: Humans Have A Local Bias

  • Humans prefer to focus on the local
  • In Design, this would be the ‘individual piece’ level. Not the campaign or world

Premise 4: Your Perception Is A Choice

  • The placebo effect shows perception plays a role in how the world manifests to you.
  • Penn and Teller Water Bottle Taste Test

Premise 5: Your Judgement Has Become The Focus

  • How Brands Got Depressed (Burger King, SunnyD) – Wisecrack Vlog


  • Graphic Design & Marketing are the mechanisms by which society articulates it’s values. Visually.
  • Art holds a mirror up to nature.
  • Design holds a mirror up to culture.