Design is Relationships, Innovation is Connections

Some the most classic, timeless logos of our time; IBM, UPS and ABC were created by the American graphic designer Paul Rand. I came across his book on Conversations with Students in which he shares his views on art and design. One of the most memorable quotes he provides is ‘Design is relationships’, a beautifully simple description that distilled his definition of good design into its most basic form and provides an easy lens to see it through.

If there is no relationship in the design Rand says, it’s just decoration.

What if we reduced other definitions in a similar way? For example, the concept of innovation remains a challenge to describe effectively, as everyone has their own opinion on what it should be.

Could we put forward a notion that innovation are essentially connections?

After all, ideas that lead to successful innovations often involve a combination of connections that when combined form something better than the original. Whether they are small connections that lead to incremental improvements or great leaps of faith between distant connections, they nearly always involve connecting the dots.

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