Danae Paparis
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Design Ethos

Design Ethos

Research | Reflection | Video


Our Senior studio rotated us through three different labs throughout our fall semester. This project was a part of our WonderLab sequence. The WonderLab encouraged socratic circle discussion, and introspection about who we are as people and what we care about as designers. It required both searching within ourselves and looking outward to think about the world and how we can mold it. 

In this rotation, we had a 5 weeks to dig deep and probe toward points of self discovery. The final prompt (after a series of smaller thought-provoking prompts and challenges) was to create a narrative that communicates our Design Ethos.


This is a design studio.

This is what a designer looks like.
A perfectionist.
A maker.
Someone with impeccable craft.
who pays attention to the finest details.
holds herself to the highest standards
and only uses quality materials to deliver the best possible product out there
and drinks a lot of coffee

This is also what a designer looks like.
A storyteller.
A thinker.
A writer.
A researcher.
Someone who works with precision
He is methodical, with a signature process that he’s become known for.

This is designing with care.
More importantly, this is designing to elicit care.

Together, these two people make up the epitome of design.
Creating the most beautiful experiences
That integrate narrative
and expressive communication
With personal behavior
To activate direct human engagement with the people around them.

This is human-to-human interaction.
This is human centered design.
This is the human experience.

Because the most crucial things we can design, are things that make us care.



The first prompt in this lab to define our design ethos, was to bring in items that we tend to collect. We didn't know why we needed to bring these items into class. However, after examining our displays of things we bothered to collect, it became clear that what we collect reveals aspects about our nature. I learned through this exercise that I collect bold, colorful and mostly print material from events, activities, and places I visit with people–old friends, new friends and family. I realized that the most meaningful things that I find worth keeping, are mementos of the times I share with people. They are reminders of the people themselves and our experiences together.


This project indeed helped me establish clarity about who I am as a designer; what fuels me, what I appreciate, and what I value. I figured out that the most meaningful and valuable design model to me, is one that holds human to human interaction at its core. I would love to design services, systems, campaigns and craft stories that create an environment which encourages people to cherish being together, and empowers them to share time, ideas, activities, even goals.