20 Awesome Educational Videos on Design

I’ve always believed that videos were one of the best things to happen to learning on the Internet. Now people from all around the world can see beyond just the word and fully appreciate a presenter’s facial nuances and tone of voice.
Listed below are some of my favorites in the world of design. There are tons more, but I specifically limited it to educational content or notable speakers with credible bodies of work. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did watching and compiling them. By the way, they are not listed in any order of priority.

1. BMW GINA Light Visionary Model: Design

The BMW GINA Light Visionary Model is a revolutionary experimental study. Now you can take a closer look at the design and the vision behind it.

Still one of my favorite experiments in an industry fraught, at best, with incremental changes. I dare say, no different to designing and selling toothpaste.

2. Janine Benyus: 12 Sustainable Design Ideas from Nature

In this inspiring talk about recent developments in biomimicry, Janine Benyus provides heartening examples of ways in which nature is already influencing the products and systems we build.

I watched this a while ago and if you are stuck for inspiration, why not learn from the solutions already developed by nature?

3. Bill Buxton: Sketching and Experience Design

June 1, 2007 lecture by Bill Buxton for the Stanford University Human-Computer Interaction Seminar (CS 547). Designing for experience comes with a whole new level of complexity. This is especially true in this emerging world of information appliances, reactive environments, and ubiquitous computing, where, along with those of their users, we have to factor in the convoluted behaviors of the products themselves. In this talk, Bill discusses the design process itself, from the perspective of methods, organization, and composition.

4. Bill Moggridge: Designing Interactions

February 2, 2007 lecture by Bill Moggridge for the Stanford University Human Computer Interaction Seminar (CS 547). Bill, designer of the first laptop computer, introduces forty influential designers who have shaped interaction with technology.

5. Don Norman: The Design of Future Things

February 9, 2007 lecture by Don Norman for the Stanford University Human Computer Interaction Seminar (CS 547). In this talk, Don discusses his latest book, The Design of Future Things, which is about the increasing intrusion of intelligent devices in the automobile and home with both expected benefits and unexpected dangers.

I have to admit that I have not gone through the last 3 (fairly old) lectures above in its entirety, but the educational content cannot be underestimated due to the fact that the content of these 3 lectures have become best sellers and pinnacles in design learning. If only they were less stuffy and school like…

6. Paula Scher: Serious Play and Solemn Design

Paula Scher looks back at a life in design (she’s done album covers, books, the Citibank logo …) and pinpoints the moment when she started really having fun. Look for gorgeous designs and images from her legendary career.

Awesome reflection on the 2 different types of design we as designers need to manage in our lives.

7. Scott Thomas: Designing the Obama Campaign

Obama’s successful 2008 campaign marked the first time that branding and design played a pivotal role in a presidential bid. Design Director Scott Thomas talks about how it unfolded behind the scenes.

Though this presentation is graphic and branding related, we can learn from it the importance of a consistent and iconic design language.

8. Don Norman on 3 ways good design makes you happy

In this talk from 2003, design critic Don Norman turns his incisive eye toward beauty, fun, pleasure and emotion, as he looks at design that makes people happy. He names the three emotional cues that a well-designed product must hit to succeed.

Don Norman stops being critical and becomes positive towards design and what it can do for us. I was surprised with Don’s voice and mannerism; I never thought he has such a wonderful personality. I wish I could meet him in person.

9. Stefan Sagmeister: Happy Design

Graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister takes the audience on a whimsical journey through moments of his life that made him happy — and notes how many of these moments have to do with good design.

10. Stefan Sagmeister: What I have learned

Rockstar designer Stefan Sagmeister delivers a short, witty talk on life lessons, expressed through surprising modes of design (including … inflatable monkeys?).

You would have probably seen these classic Stefan Sagmeister introspective on design and his design career. How I wish we all could take mini-retirements in design?

11. John Maeda: The simple life

The MIT Media Lab’s John Maeda lives at the intersection of technology and art, a place that can get very complicated. Here he talks about paring down to basics.

12. John Maeda on his journey in design

Designer John Maeda talks about his path from a Seattle tofu factory to the Rhode Island School of Design, where he became president in 2008. Maeda, a tireless experimenter and a witty observer, explores the crucial moment when design met computers.

Simplicity advocate John Maeda talks about his passion and how design is key in fostering it.

13. Michael Bierut: 5 Secrets from 86 Notebooks

Michael Bierut: 5 Secrets from 86 Notebooks from 99% on Vimeo.

Pulling from his collected notes and sketches from over three decades, renowned graphic designer Michael Bierut shares five simple secrets for doing great creative work.

Another introspective, this time by Michael Bierut from Pentagram and Design Observer fame. It is always good to learn from the people who have been there and done that.

14. Scott Belsky: How to Avoid the Idea Generation Trap

Scott Belsky: How to Avoid the Idea Generation Trap from 99% on Vimeo.

Ever find yourself jumping from idea to idea, hooked on the high of idea generation but never completing any one project? 99% Conference speaker Scott Belsky breaks down road-tested methods for seeing ideas through to the finish.

How to stop “Mental Masturbation” and get your ideas going!

15. Ji Lee: The Transformative Power of Personal Projects

Ji Lee: The Transformative Power of Personal Projects from 99% on Vimeo.

How can personal projects feed our professional development? Ji Lee changed his career trajectory with 30,000 stickers and a guerrilla art approach.

In the same vein as Paula Scher’s Serious Play and Solemn Design, and Stefan’s mini-retirements, Ji Li talks about how designers can leverage from personal projects or projects run on passion. Know the difference between design that feeds the stomach and design that feeds the soul.

16. Scott Berkun: Why Designers Fail and What to do About It

“Studying the perfect cases doesn’t inform as much as the fail cases do.”

I’m was a little hesitant to put this in as it was rather basic, but I decided eventually to do so as I thought it would be nice to cover all bases in this article.

17. Jeff Veen Great Designers Steal

Shouldn’t copying something be easier than creating it? The problem is the work on the original is invisible. The copier does not know why it looks the way it looks.

I love this presentation; it is a short and sharp presentation on a subject many people wonder about. The quote above is just awesome and something designers need to remember when their work gets stolen.

18. Feng Zhu’s Sketching Videos from his FZD Design School

A great range of inspirational concept sketches that drive the environmental or character designs of movies and games such as Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Transformers, Command and Conquer 3, Sims 3 etc.
Follow their Youtube Channel as well: FZDSCHOOL

19. Andy Budd: Seductive Design

Often [seduction] is seen as a negative thing, it’s seen as bad. People think of it as leading people astray. However, I actually think that seduction can be a good thing, it can be a fun thing.

Though it is targeted to web and interface designers, the principles have a universal application. I love the tongue-in-cheek manner on how this presentation is delivered.

20. Design Indaba: Protofarm 2050

Protofarm 2050 was commissioned by ICSID for the World Design Congress in Singapore from 23 to 25 November. The brief was to generate preemptive solutions to predicted problems of the future.
Choosing farming, Design Indaba sought to engage with issues of food security and resourceful environmentalism. Previous Design Indaba speakers – Futurefarmers, 5.5 designers, Dunne & Raby, Revital Cohen and Frank Tjepkema – were commissioned to generate farming scenarios for the year 2050.

I was at the ICSID Congress and this was one of the most thought provoking and engaging talks there. Check out more details of the Protofarming concepts at the Design Indaba vimeo channel.

  • Bill Gates

    May 28, 2016 at 5:03 pm Reply

    Awesome collections, thank you very much !!!

  • Humayun

    July 4, 2015 at 6:46 pm Reply

    Videos are always helpful. Thanks for the compilation.

  • Nashir

    November 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm Reply

    I saw the vimeo channel about Design Indaba. This have great resource. Thanks.

  • Max

    September 26, 2013 at 2:13 am Reply

    Thank you for the valuable videos

  • Gina Silvee

    January 11, 2013 at 9:08 pm Reply

    Andy Budd video looks great!
    I love the tongue-in-cheek manner on how this presentation is delivered.

  • Luke watts

    February 19, 2011 at 6:44 pm Reply

    Wonderful collection here. Nice to see all in one website. Hope many will find useful as me.

  • Rokaiya Yeasmin Munni

    December 27, 2010 at 6:14 pm Reply

    In actuality videos are one of the most excellent things to learn no matter which on Internet and these excellent videos are so much cooperative for one and all.

  • RK

    December 23, 2010 at 9:47 am Reply

    Thanks for the videos! Some good information here.

  • Design Translator

    November 18, 2010 at 1:50 pm Reply

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I enjoyed Andy’s presentation as well. I belief that many basic principles of design is multidisciplinary, especially those that are of a higher power. It is the technical skills that differ.

  • Dave Vogler

    November 17, 2010 at 12:00 pm Reply

    Awesome compilation! I will be working my way through these with great interest. Thank you for collecting them in one place. I was pleased to see Andy Budd’s presentation here- I saw him give this at SXSW, and was also struck by the universal nature of the concepts..equally applicable to web or product design.

  • Design Translator

    November 16, 2010 at 4:02 pm Reply

    Thanks for your kind feedback Stefan!

  • Stefan Radev

    November 6, 2010 at 8:12 am Reply

    A great compilation. Very informative!
    Thank you Brian for sharing the video choice.

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