Good Design

Project Type
Workshop Design

5 weeks

Design Consultant & Facilitator


Good Design is a workshop aimed at creating a space where design students and faculty have conversations about what they thought “good design” was.

With acknowledgment of design discipline lacking space for feedback and critique, our goal was to reevaluate the modes and methods to ensure our practice doesn’t create further harm to the communities we work within.

Project Background


Our client, a design school, aims to integrate diverse perspectives into their educational practices. However, they feel the current disciplines lack space for reflection and critique. To avoid contributing to harm within communities, the institution seeks to establish opportunities to address challenges, re-evaluate previous practices, as well as share methods to create better design practices within their academic communities.

Our Solution

Create a platform for reflection and dialogue on "What is Good Design?" This broad topic allows design actors to have various personal reflections and diverse approach exchanges. By extending discussions beyond educational contexts, participants can connect their practices to real-world concerns, enriching honest reflection on the impact of design in society.

Objectives of the Workshop


offer a creative and safe space for reflection, questions, and discussion about design practices and their impacts. 


facilitate discussion to critique current design practices of both individuals and organizations. 


invite students to engage with professionals in the field, facilitating valuable exchanges of perspectives on design practices.

Workshop Planning


To underscore the workshop's 'linking' objective, we extended invitations to a diverse range of participants. 

Among them were students, faculty members, and experts from various design disciplines. 

*a list of individuals we invited prior to advertisement


To be explorative, it was crucial to provide a safe and welcoming environment where participants could freely express their thoughts and concerns regarding design practices. 

To achieve this, we focused on creating a comfortable atmosphere by paying attention to details like lighting, furniture arrangement, artifact design, spatial layout, and catering provisions. 


The workshop was structured into two parts: interactive discussion and presentations, both tailored to fit the format of a one-day event.  

Part 1. Interaction Discussion

During the interactive discussion segment, we provided various tools strategically placed throughout the workshop space. These tools allowed participants to individually or in groups, respond to prompted questions about "What is Good Design?" in a relaxed and informal manner, fostering brainstorming and comfortable conversations about design with others. 

Part 2. Presentations

Participants who had expressed a willingness to share their own tools for conducting “Good Design” prior to the workshop introduced their practices. As facilitators, we reorganized the space into multiple stations where participants could engage with the introduced tools, gaining valuable insights and perspectives.

Workshop Operation

Part 1: Interactive Discussion

Tool A: Interactive Wall

This interactive wall prompts participants with questions about Good Design, fostering focused discussions and diverse perspectives. It encourages sharing of experiences and feelings, enhancing understanding among participants.

Tool B: Love Letter to School

Love Letter to School is a tool for students and faculty to express appreciation and suggestions for improvement. Inspired by dating apps, it metaphorically explores the love-and-hate relationships within the educational institution and broader community.

Tool C: Barnraiser

The Barnraiser, created by Public Lab, is a 1-page “newspaper” designed to summarize written thoughts and share various stories in a lighthearted, succinct, and low-burden manner. During the workshop, we created the Barnraiser with stories and ideas shared by Good Design participants. This allows individuals to easily and holistically capture the workshop’s conversation in a comfortable and accessible format.

Part 2: Presentations and sharing of design tools

Tool A: Wool Combing

Aisha, a graduate student who shared the tool, explained that wool combing helps her slow down her thought process, allowing her to approach problem areas with a more relaxed mindset. 

To facilitate this practice, we set up a cozy corner in the workshop where participants could engage in wool combing while verbally and individually sharing ideas.

Tool B: Idea Sticky Cube

With six different colored sticky notes stuck to each side of a cube, Khipra, an industrial design professor, explained that he utilizes the cube to gather diverse ideas around a concept. 

According to Khipra, this approach allows a more comprehensive analysis and critique of a design concept, enabling consideration of a wider range of factors in concept generation.

Tool C: Idea Rotation

Anonymous participants introduced a novel approach involving four drawing boards, each allotted a limited amount of time for designers to generate ideas based on a designated topic. 

By the end of the sketching session with rotation, a diverse range of ideas per drawing pad emerges, enabling designers to view and introduce their concepts to one another effortlessly. 

They introduced that this tool is effective in the initial concept generation phase, right after user research to ensure incorporating everyone’s thoughts in the idea building.

Things Discussed

“[I somehow found] comfort in grappling with these difficult questions.”

“I enjoyed being and feeling the enthusiasm of the participants and the insights of the students.”

“How do we, as students, ethically engage community?”

“Is ethical design possible in a capitalist system?”

Next Step


Throughout the workshop, our Good Design team became more convinced of “design power” to empower communities, bridge gaps in ability and accessibility, and positively impact lives. However, we also acknowledged the potential for design to cause harm if power dynamics and identities are not considered.
Understanding these complexities, we recognized the need for more space to openly discuss these ideas, share diverse perspectives, and explore various Design practices. This dialogue is essential for nurturing our shared beliefs and expanding our knowledge, ultimately fostering a more holistic approach to ethical Design.


We were able to expand and continue our workshop in an online space later in the year. This enabled more participants to join and facilitated a broader range of thoughts and discussions.