How I Discovered Design

During my freshmen year, I went to Calapalooza to find clubs to join. Amongst the sea of tables, fliers, and students, I saw mysterious and overlapping vibrant cyan circles in the corner of eyes. The unique composition of the circular logo piqued my curiosity. So, I walked over to be introduced to Innovative Design (InnoD), a group that makes posters and pretty things.

Fast forward a couple weeks into the semester, I found myself to be really involved with InnoD and I was constantly designing things outside of meetings. I connected with the club really well and one of the older members, Elizabeth, introduced me to a book called The Design of Everyday Things, which sounded like a lot of what I was doing. So I went and in my search for this book, I found Wurster’s Environmental Design Library, where a trove of books hid.

My eyes feasted on the endless rows of books about different design topics, ranging from architecture to industrial and advertisement to social design. I was delighted and my insatiable hunger for design grew. Who knew my confusion and embarrassment from pushing doors that are supposed to be pulled was not actually my fault, but rather the designer’s?

I read and I read, I came back to the library day after day, and soon my definition of design had matured from a form of decoration to a manner of construction, a way of creating solutions to problems that I never thought design could fix. From crafting children-friendly MRI experiences to engineering a solar-powered lantern for third-world countries, the possibilities seemed endless. In that moment, as I was sitting on the floor of the library, I thought I had discovered design.

The next semester, I joined Berkeley Innovation, the only human-centered design club on campus, and worked with people who shared my same understanding of design. It provided me a great space to learn, develop, and collaborate with others on projects. I gained a sense of empathy as I had to understand the motivations and goals behind the people of the things that I were designing for. Surprisingly, psychology seemed to be a big part of design and just as I thought I had a solid grasp of design, I was wrong.

All in all, design is something that I have stumbled upon and it has become my world. Design isn’t just architecture, engineering, psychology, and business; it’s more than that. It’s a lifestyle and journey that I’ve only recently began and this path only seems to get more exciting. It’ll take time to explore all four corners of design, but hopefully the adventure won’t be lonely. Along the way, I hope to cultivate and help others find and grow their passion for design, so that in the end, we can all discover design together.