There are no lack of “connections” these days. Weak or strong, in your face, or trolling Facebook at 1 am, you can connect with family, friends, brands, your bank, your fitness behavior, and at least a hundred tentacles of email newsletters unread in your Inbox that you enthusiastically subscribed to at some point.
Immersed in this connection glut, you try to gain control by defining and refining lists—whom you spend your time with online, whom you see in person—while still placing yourself in situations to have chance connections that might enrich your life. (Have you ever stayed that extra half hour at a boring party just to see what might happen after “giving up”?)
When I think about connecting and I think about design, I am aware of two things. The first is obvious: good design makes connecting with the people and things you already know easier and the people and things youought to know easier. Secondly: experiencing something that is well designed connects you to the people who crafted the experience. The designed object or experience becomes its own conduit—reminding us that whoever designed this interface, book, movie, coffeepot and pair of glasses has offered to us, an artifact of their internal creative connections that created this in the first place. It is a quieter, often faceless connection that is everywhere.
If only we are not too connected to notice.
This is a modified version of an essay I wrote to win a pass to attend TYPO San Francisco 2012 earlier this year.