Design connects brains

January 06 2014 – 12:10pm

The thing that has always propelled humanity forward has been the sharing of ideas. Spoken, then written language intensified the pace of innovation.

The thing that makes written language so powerful, is that it serves as a shorthand through which we can exchange thoughts with one another asynchronously.

Language connects brains.

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Shortly after Gutenberg perfected the printing press, the transfer of ideas exponentiated. For the first time, people were able to store their ideas in a book that could then put those ideas into the brains of thousands of other people.

Publishing connects brains.

But, the world moves much faster than it did in 15th-century Germany. Now, the shorthand that is written language isn’t short enough. The “bicycle for the mind,” the computer, has enabled ideas to transfer even more rapidly.


The invention of language, and the invention of the publishing of that language networked brains so ideas could spread faster. Computers, mobile devices, and the Internet have intensified that pace by many orders of magnitude.

Thanks to these technologies, ideas transfer instantaneously, and the limits of their reach are boundless.

Computers connect brains.


We don’t have to pour molten hot lead into copper matrices to make letters. We don’t have to typeset one page at a time, and we don’t have to make paper to print it all on. When an idea is ready to be published, we don’t even have to ship physical copies of that idea.

Once our brains put an idea into a computer, that idea can be on another computer in an instant. The bottleneck in this network of brains, then, is between the brain and the computer.


This is where design comes in. The clear presentation of the subtext of information (this is more important than that; that is related to this) through shapes, lines, colors, and spaces between pieces of information, strengthens the connection between brain and computer where language isn’t enough.

They say “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but a design can be worth 30,000 words. The subtle curves of a typeface, the sizing and alignment of words, and the spaces between those words all make up their share along with colors, textures, and shapes.

Computers publish language that connects our brains to other brains. Design connects our brains to those computers.

Design connects brains.

(Until we find a more direct route.)

Design Connects Brains: http://t.co/mo94qfU49b

— David Kadavy (@kadavy) January 6, 2014

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This post is filed under Design.