Don Norman

Don Norman, IDSA, Phd
Director, Design Lab
University of California, San Diego

He’s been hailed by Bloomberg Businessweek as one of the world’s most influential designers. Don Norman, IDSA, PhD, is director of the new Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego. He also serves as professor emeritus of psychology, cognitive science and electrical and computer engineering. Norman’s credentials include positions as a VP at Apple; executive at HP; and design professor at Northwestern University and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).

He’s co-founder of the Nielsen Norman group; an IDEO Fellow; fellow of the Design Research Society; member of the National Academy of Engineering; trustee of IIT’s Institute of Design; and an honorary professor of design and innovation at Tongji University, Shanghai. Norman also served as faculty at Harvard University.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from MIT and a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania—both in electrical engineering. Norman’s doctorate, from the University of Pennsylvania, is in psychology. His landmark books include Emotional Design, Living with Complexity and most recently—an expanded and revised edition of Design of Everyday Things.

Design Education in the 21st Century​

Industrial designers must now deal with problems that are far more complex than is covered by their traditional, craft-based education. The emphasis today is on interaction—as well as form, function, and materials—which means that industrial designers must understand the psychological principles of human interaction with technology.

Don Norman, IDSA, PhD, believes even more change is required. He says as we move forward into an ever more complex world, designers have to design complex, sociotechnical systems. All these changes have important implications for training. Norman says perhaps we should divide the practice of industrial designers into those who emphasize their wonderful craft-based skills that provide us with beautiful, delightful products—and those will work on the more complex systems and services where the design thinking skills are paramount and the craft skills are unnecessary.