I always enjoy it when I have the chance to work with designers. Just now we're working on a small-but-fun collaboration to design a new logo and poster for the forthcoming Jena user-conference. What I like is the way that designers approach problems. Engineers, even ones with user-centred principles in mind, tend to approach product design from a starting-point of "what should the product do?" Designers, in my experience anyway, start somewhere around "what should it feel like to use this product?" There's nothing right or wrong about either starting point, but it's fantastically refreshing to view your world from someone else's perspective. Either way round, good design comes down, in my view, to elegance, and there's always more to learn about achieving that elusive quality. The more inspiration the better.
I've been meaning to write an entry along these lines for some time. I'm reminded to do so now by a little bit of synchonicity. I've recently added to my blog aggregator core77.com's design blog, and John Maeda's simplicity blog. John has a collection of rules of simplicity (e.g. the first law) which are quite thought provoking - even if I don't entirely agree with all of them. And today, via core77, comes Intelligent Design, a delightful parody by Paul Rudnick. It brightened my Sunday morning anyway!