If design hadn’t triumphed by 2012, it had by 2013. Three years after launching the iPad, Apple was the world’s most valuable company, and even second-order pundits knew why:design. Steve Jobs’ remark that design was “how it works” had achieved what seemed like widespread comprehension, and recruiting wars for top designers rivaled those for top engineers. Salaries escalated, but cachet escalated faster; entire funds emerged whose only purpose was to invest in designer founders, and with money and esteem came the fetishization of design, the reduction of designers into archetypes, the establishment of trade cliques and the ever-increasing popularity of trend-ecosystems.
Today, an Apple news and rumors site posted screenshots of Healthbook, which seems to be Apple’s first major software stab at what will likely become a major focus for them. We can consider the software and hardware to come in a few ways:
The field of design, like most early- or non-sciences, struggles with abstracting or generalizing its principles for many reasons —some addressable, some not— and as such many of its practitioners have only thousands of “rules of thumb” with scant systematizing or organizing structures behind them.
Designer Nicholas Felton is known for his interest in data. With his famous Annual Reports, he established a reputation for creatively visualizing information to present a novel, illuminating, non-narrative recapitulation of a year:
While a primary source of popular interest in these reports was the ingeniousness of the visualizations (and later the trendiness of the theme), what remains interesting throughout the years are the ideas of
- apprehending a life in a more reliable and explicable way,
- understanding ourselves more accurately and more deeply, and thus
- being able to change and improve ourselves through clarity of insight and comprehension of cause and effect.