How to Think About Design With John Maeda

Design is more than pretty pictures. Today I speak with John Maeda, Design Partner at KPCB. John frequents the TED talk scene, and writes some pretty interesting books, so I wanted to get him on the podcast to break some of his insights down for me. Just how important is design in 2016?

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Here is what I learned:

  • The design is no longer an afterthought. It was easy to get away with throwing design on later when the tech industry was filled with mostly “geeks.” Now tech is mainstream, and early adopters look like your next door neighbor. You have to think about the total experience much earlier in the process than before. This also is a bonus, because it allows you to iterate faster.
  • Not every designer is made equal. Designers are easy to find, but just because a designer is good doesn’t mean she is a good fit for your startup. Use the same carefulness to find a designer that you would use when looking for an engineer.
  • Design for the after wow. This is perhaps the biggest lesson I learned from John. Learn how to design for trust instead of eyes. Why? We live in the age where logos are abundant and everywhere. A cool logo is no longer what it takes to stand out. Companies now stand out for providing a cool experience. The product just has to be better than everything else.


John’s Twitter

The Design In Tech Report 2015 


Louie & Friends (from the intro)