a FINE Book Review: The Shape of Design

Posted in Insights


“Questions about How to do things improves the craft and elevates form, but asking Why unearths a purpose and develops a point of view.”

  • Frank Chimero, The Shape Of Design

So many times in our lives we only see a very small part of a product. We are presented with something as it exists today and imagine that it came into the world as we see it. What often goes unnoticed, or forgotten, are the countless hours of struggle or seemingly effortless inspiration that were involved in creating it. Frank Chimero’s book The Shape Of Design does a wonderful job breaking down this process and helping us to understand what goes into making objects that we cherish and how we can align our process better to create a more desirable outcome, not just for ourselves, but also for the lives of everyone it touches.

The Shape Of Design is really about laying a foundation for designers and manufacturers to understand what they create does not exist in a vacuum and should be treated accordingly througout all the steps of the process. When we create, we must do so with purpose and with empathy. We must take into account just as much of the "Why" we are creating as the "How". If we can bridge the gap of "Why", if we can connect with our audience on more than a functional level but also an empathetic level, our creations then begin to elevate in purpose or meaning.

This is a great book for designers but its lessons can be applied to just about anything in life. If our creations, whether a mobile app or a box of cupcakes, are mindful of their own existence, how they impact others, and their own ability to delight in the unexpected, we can start making more beauty in this world with everything we touch.

Reviewed by FINE designer, North Bryan

More Insights