How to define Design Philosophy?

Design philosophy is the foundation based on which all design decisions are made. It includes the principles and how you use them to achieve the goals.


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CXO, Design leaders, Design manager, Senior designers

Getting Started

The design philosophy is a set of beliefs, principles, and values that guide the designs. It’s a way of thinking about design that goes beyond aesthetics and technical considerations to encompass broader ideas about the role and purpose of design in society. Design philosophy helps teams to focus on important things, helps in better agreement on a definition of success, and can prevent misalignment among team members. Having an effective design philosophy will help to make your designs more recognizable and unique to your users.

Themes of Design Philosophy

Design philosophy may vary based on the context, the designer, and the design principle, but some common themes include:

Use of design philosophy

The design philosophy is useful in:

  • providing a framework for evaluating a design while it gets built 

  • ensuring the product/project is going in the right direction

  • helping team members have the same thought process

  • building consistent design

  • ensuring a good quality outcome

How to?

    1. For an organization or team, define the vision, brand attributes, principles, rules, etc.

    2. For a project, define the goal, principles, and pointers for a design system 

Do’s & Don'ts



  1. Have the big picture in mind.

  2. Your design philosophy should reflect your own values and beliefs.

  3. Make it simple, understandable, and actionable.

  4. Share your philosophy with others and be open to feedback.

  5. Keep it flexible.

  1. Don’t define something fancy despite it being irrelevant.

  2. Don’t copy someone else’s philosophy.

  3. Don’t overcomplicate it.

  4. Don’t be too vague or too flexible.


Suggested Tools 

  • GoogleDocs

  • Office365


Other Related Best Practices

  • Stakeholder Interviews

  • User Research