Magic and Meaning: A Crash Course on Mindful Design

“The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. We, as designers need to create circular business models and fashion brands, simultaneously informing and encouraging the consumer to make mindful fashion choices. Upcycling, recycling and donating the surplus to charity are some of the ways one can contribute. We will need to consciously use resources and waste less.”

– Puja Arya

For a month now, I have seriously committed to Yoga. I’ve flirted with it on and off for the last three decades, but as I grow older and worry mounts about creaking knees and a rusting mind, I have finally embraced Yogic practice with full-hearted abandon.

The teacher exhorts us to be aware of the moment, to be aware of the sensations in our body and the thoughts that flit across the inner mind. I find that when I allow my attention to drift away, my mind scurries to some troubling memory of the past or a persistent worry of the future. Bringing the mind back to the breath, to the body, and to the moment makes me feel calmer.

This leads me to thinking about the significance of mindfulness to my work view and life view. Can I integrate the practice of mindfulness to the way I design my life and my work? What exactly is mindful design?

MINDFULNESS

There has been an explosion of interest in mindfulness in the West. It has been led by Jon Kabat-Zinn, American Professor Emeritus, who created the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. From Hollywood stars to Professors at Ivy League colleges, everybody is embracing mindfulness. It made it to the cover page of a special edition of Time magazine in 2018, which declared mindfulness to be the new science of health and happiness.

Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

MINDFUL DESIGN

Thinking like a designer can transform products, services, organizations, and societies. Design thinking relies on the human ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, and to construct ideas that are emotionally meaningful as well as functional.

Engineers create products. Designers create experiences. Ranging from a simple paper clip, sunglasses, the Ferrari, and the rotary telephone to the Metro, Jumbo jets, or Big Falcon Rockets cruising to the moon, everything is a product of design.

Design thinking looks deceptively easy. It’s not. Core design abilities include an ability to wade into messy complexity and navigate ambiguity to create something new for the world. Designers typically have an action bias and an in-built ability to weather failure. They have their tools and techniques such as brainstorming and mind mapping, prototyping, and testing.

Focusing on Literature and Lifestyle of the Urban Youth of the Country, LitGleam is a monthly magazine, an intrinsic part of BlueRose Publishers.

Within its pages, our readers find provocative essays on literature and lifestyle, guidance for getting published and pursuing writing careers, in-depth profiles of poets, fiction writers, and writers of creative nonfiction, and conversations among fellow professionals.

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