How to Sharpen Your Design Acuity with a Simple Exercise?

Micène Fontaine, August 17, 2022

The room is dark. One eye covered, letters flash smaller and smaller on the wall in front of you. You read what you see out loud - or take a guess before your vision becomes too blurry. Maybe the "guessing" and the "blurry" part is just me, but for most of us, some strings of letters are very comfortable to read, while others require us to strain.  

 Eye exams are essential to staying healthy, and - in my mind - they are akin to the "Five Es" exercise Needlab's founder Sameera Chukkapalli Holmes teaches forward-looking design practices to help them sharpen their design acuity. 

Lights can stay on for Sameera's exercise. All you need to do is pick one of your projects - completed or in the works - and reflect on the project's impact across five design dimensions

  1. Environment
  2. Economy
  3. Energy
  4. Education
  5. Emotion

Like an eye exam, some answers will come effortlessly, some will take more effort, and some might prove unidentifiable. What matters is that you'll have a clearer picture of your work's impact. You might find that it's aligned with the impact you want to have in your community and the future of design or that it needs a few tweaks. 

Either way, it gives you a simple framework to reflect and communicate on, and nothing prevents you from deciding on a different set of design dimensions that make sense for your practice. You know what Pablo Picasso said about rules:

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Pablo Picasso

 Think about it. In the meantime, give the "Five Es" exercise a try and, if you need additional guidance, check out Needlab's founder Sameera Chukkapalli Holmes's session "Architects and Design OF the Community" part of our Change by Design series.



:Change by Design