Postcards From

Postcard from Deem’s Nu Goteh


It’s time to expand the definition of design

In our new Postcards From series, we ask future-facing design thinkers to share a short message about what’s on their minds right now. For the first installment, LA-based designer, strategist, creative director, and social practitioner, Nu Goteh—cofounder of Deem Journal—offers insight into the urgent need to expand design—both by definition and in action.

 Nu Goteh. Photo by GL Askew; courtesy of Deem Journal

Dear Design,

Our society is constantly evolving, and so design—itself a reflection of the needs of our society—must also expand. Design is often associated with the manufacturing of artifacts—graphics, objects, buildings, and the like. However, the act of envisioning, organizing, and altering our world based on shared problems is at the core design's true purpose and potential. Our ability to use design to reshape our material realities (for better and for worse) has moved us beyond hunters and gathers into dreamers, thinkers, and makers. Yet, despite these advancements, we remain enmeshed in hierarchical systems that prioritize the needs of some at the expense of others.

The information age has ushered in new opportunities along with new problems. To address the needs of our increasingly complex world, we need to create opportunities to prototype and integrate multiple solutions and welcome diverse perspectives. Design can enable us to create the conditions for a much more communal and inclusive world, but, in order to do so, the industry must make space to examine the process as much as the output.

—Design must champion lived experience as much as data.

—Design must seek insights from communities as much as from external experts.

—Design must look beyond itself for inspiration in new methods and approaches.

Through this expansion, we will see the development of new processes, methodologies, and solutions to the multitude and nuanced issues that our world will continue to present us with.

Sincerely Yours,