Design Questions Library

How does design work?

We’re asked this question often and we’ll always be curious about it. The reality is that design is useful, a bit mysterious, and forever in flux. Right now, this is a guide to some of what we know—and don’t know—about how design works.

This site is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather a useful guide—our FAQ for design understanding. We hope it will inspire discussion, some questioning, a little soul searching, and ideally, a bit of intellectual support for your everyday endeavors.


Here are nine questions we think a lot about. Each links to deeper descriptions and related research we’ve uncovered along the way. Alternatively, you could go straight to articles we’ve curated from our research in the Articles Index.

For more on how and why we ended up with these questions, read the Design Questions' Brief History.