What Is Design?

Chinedu Okeke
3 min readMay 25, 2022
This image shows where design can be situated

Oh! Boy. Trying to explain this is like trying to explain the existence of man.

Let’s take it one step at a time

So we ask ourselves what design is and honestly, it feels like a vague word at first but if you were to look beyond and within the word, design carries a brutal force with it, be it what changes the mind of men or what certifies the mind of gods, design is in everything we do and in everything we are.

Let’s talk about definitions and how people would normally see design, an average person would define it as:

A way of communicating words, images and illustrations in order to convey emotions or show information about a certain act or event that might or would occur now or in the future.

Some people would even confuse it with art.

Another could go this way, it is an art that predates time and modern man and with a fusion of the past and present, we communicate the future.

But let me give a more prominent definition from different institutions and let’s see how you get to understand how design is really seen and perceived.

Strate School of Design defines design as the process of envisioning and planning the creation of objects, interactive systems, buildings, vehicles etc. it is user-centred i.e. users are in the heart

Wikipedia defines design as a plan or specification for the construction of an object or system or for the implementation of an activity or process.

We could literally say from these definitions that design is at the intersection of various subject matters ranging from art, engineering, science & technology.

But one thing stands out from my understanding of design, it is the core of everything and every action we take and do.

Those who design are called designers and they can be found in various industries ranging from, Fashion, Products, Digital products, Interior, Machinery, Science, Technology, Medicine and the list goes on.

So you might ask, what is design:

Design is the thoughtful approach to solving for a set of people/s in order to make something they use seamless and beneficial.

Design is not Art

How do I explain this! Well to be blunt, design is not art and art is not design, both can co-exist within a space but they can never be classified under the same umbrella?

What is Art?

Art is expressively applying creativity and imagination in either a visual form, physical form and lately digital form. The primary reason for creating art isn’t to solve a problem, it is mostly to be appreciated primarily for its beauty and emotional pull.

So why do people mix up Design and Art?

Some people would always classify anything that appeals to them with the first language they learnt grouping something colourful, bright, beautiful & aesthetically pleasing as art. In a way they aren’t wrong, remember I mentioned that both can co-exist in a space but also they are mutually exclusive based on the approach.

Where does design come into play?

With all the confusion, you might ask, where does design come in within the industry you reside in.

Anywhere really, so far you are making a conscious effort to tackle a problem, you are diligently designing to make the world a little bit better than you left it.


Design is problem-solving and art is expression.

I hope I have been able to make you better understand what design is and not confuse you more

See you in my next episode, I would be touching more on this topic

Types of design opportunities out there

Hey, I am Chinedu a professional UX Designer with an emphasis on User Research, Lean UX Design Methodology and continuous optimization of the design thinking process. I believe that Good design shouldn’t lose the human feel, good design should be usable & accessible, good design should be human-centred, and good design is simple yet powerful.

I make awesome pixels that make life easier follow me on Twitter to continue this conversation. You can also check out more of my work on my portfolio.



Chinedu Okeke

Product Designer | UX Designer | Designing for usability & accessibility