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Life by Design
By Marianne Combs, Minnesota Public Radio | February 2, 2007

The word 'design' used to be relegated to the conversations of academics and engineers, but now it pops up in housekeeping magazines and department store aisles. Although most of us don't learn about it in school, design -- both good and bad -- has a tremendous impact on our lives.

What is design?
Most people think of design as what makes something pretty, whether it's the interior of a house or the latest fashion trends. The dictionary defines design as "thoughtful creation." We explore the true meaning of the word.

You refine the design
We live with design, both good and bad. We want you to be the designer, and tell us what you like and don't like about the designs of items you use every day -- such as cell phones, coffeemakers, furniture, or your neighborhood shopping mall.
Share your suggestions

How does design affect your work, purchases, and life in general? What is design?
Read the audience commentaries for "Defining Design"


Slideshow: What is design?
Audio/slideshow: What is design?

Slideshow: The evolving chair - A history of design
Slideshow: The evolving chair - A history of design

Video: Good urban design -
Rice Park, St. Paul

Video: Bad urban design -
Marquette Ave., Minneapolis

How design shapes where we live
Most city codes are created by lawyers, not by designers. But as cities compete for new growth, they're learning the way a city is designed has an enormous impact on whether it thrives, or dies.
The design economy: We are what we buy
As consumers, we express who we are through the things we buy. We have increasingly emotional relationships with objects. Now designers are playing with those emotions.
Who has the power to influence design?
When it comes to changing the design of things that don't work well, individuals often feel powerless. But there are ways consumers can influence the design of their world.

Designer profiles
Frank Lloyd Wright
One of the greatest, and most controversial
Frederick Law Olmsted
The father of landscape architecture
Frank Gehry
Architect as sculptor
Michael Graves
A household name


Reporter: Marianne Combs
Broadcast editors: Don Lee, Mike Edgerly
Online editor: Melanie Sommer
Web designer: Ben Tesch