In its largest sense, design is how we shape the world around us. Design is how humans participate in the ongoing making of the world. As Victor Papanek puts it, "design is basic to all human activity." I use mediums like art, graphics, illustration, and materials like paint, wood, and clay to shape the world. Design becomes the process through which I do the shaping. It encompasses the "why", the "how", and the "what" of the things I choose to give form to.
The question becomes what to give form to? This is where design gets philosophical and even metaphysical. Design exists somewhere in the space between; between what is and what could be. The "could be" is a world created by dreams, hopes, and imaginations, which are shaped by ideals, values, and beliefs. The "could be" is wrapped up in our existential search for meaning, purpose, and belonging. It lives in the space between people, between people and places, and between people and themselves. Design is the process by which we bring what "could be" into what is.