What is good design? It’s a question that has kept designers debating for decades. Usually it circles around questions of taste, fashion, or functionality. Whenever the conversation comes up, the “eye of the beholder” argument shuts it down. One person will say good design is design that “works,” and another person will say what works depends on the individual user. At this point everyone nods and the conversation ends. But the question is never fully put to rest.

There’s a deeper and more satisfying answer. Good design does not depend as much on the eye of the beholder as it does on a combination of aesthetics and ethics: ...

Get The 46 Rules of Genius: An Innovator’s Guide to Creativity now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.