5 Awesome TED Talks for Designers

| 4 min read

We know, TED talks can sometimes feel a little… overblown. While there are loads of great talks; some of them go nowhere and don’t seem to add much to your life at all. To make things worse… there are a lot of TED talks and it’s hard to tell which are going to motivate you to do something new and interesting and which are going to bore the socks off you.

We’ve kept that in mind while developing our list of 5 awesome TED Talks that ought to benefit designers of all descriptions. And, indeed, these talks can be a great way to build or complement a design education.

1. Simplicity Sells – David Pogue

Let’s get this up front; we’re not pro-Apple or anti-PC here at the User Experience Daily; in fact this article was written on a brand new shiny PC running Windows 8. Having said that, it would be impossible not to acknowledge that the Apple user experience is usually considered to be better than the PC user experience.

David Pogue pulls no punches as he ridicules the differences between the two. Don’t let that put you off (no matter which side of the fence you sit on; and don’t forget you will pry my PC from my cold dead hands before you replace it with an Apple) – his key message is vital; simplicity sells products and it can easily be achieved.


2. Breakthrough Designs for Ultra-Low Cost Products – R A Mashelkar

It’s worth noting that not every designer dreams of catering to the luxury design market that Apple inhabits. Many designers want to solve the problems of the poorest people in the world. The question then becomes; how can I get something that does the same job for 1/10th 1/100th or 1/1000th of the cost?

This fabulous look at ingenuity in India tells you a lot about how to get things done well but cheaply. Be prepared to be moved as well as impressed; the artificial leg developed in India is something truly fantastic.


3. Intricate Beauty by Design – Marian Bantjes

The first two of our chosen TED talks deal with the usability of design, Marian wants to talk about something else. Her talk is about the innate beauty that we can create through personalization. Design is not just about function; great design is also about form. This talk suggests how we can create products that are pleasurable all the time; not just during their use.


4. Happy Design – Stefan Sagmeister

The process of design is a serious business. However, design is not always serious and learning to be happy and learning to laugh can add a lot of power to our design experiences. Stefan explores how being happy with what you do can bring happiness out in others through your designs. This talk is both amusing and instructive and no designs were harmed in the making of this video.


5. Design and Discovery – David Carson

David Carson thinks big and this talk covers far more than a single design concept or area of design. It’s been devised to get you thinking about what is possible and where design can fall down by accident too. It’s entertaining, educational and incredibly broad ranging. Watch this when you’re looking for “big picture” inspiration and you won’t be disappointed.



Hero Image: Author/Copyright holder: Steve Jurvetson. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY 2.0

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