Design Philosophy: Google


Continuing our discussions about design and philosophy and inspirational resources, I thought this week we would take a look at a successful company that has written out a list of design principals and created its own philosophy on how to do business: Google. Google created its like of “10 Things” that they hold true when the company was just a few years old, and I think it speaks to their vision that these 10 Things still hold true.

  1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.
  2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
  3. Fast is better than slow.
  4. Democracy on the web works.
  5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
  6. You can make money without doing evil.
  7. There’s always more information out there.
  8. The need for information crosses all borders.
  9. You can be serious without a suit.
  10. Great just isn’t good enough.

I have to admit that I really love that they acknowledge that you can be serious without a suit! 🙂

How can we as creative individuals learn from Google’s philosophy?

I think there are several sources of inspiration that Google’s 10 Things can provide. It inspired me to create my own philosophy list. It is a work in progress (I have been editing this post a lot!), and the thoughts I have put into this also remind me of my 2015 Quilty Resolutions.

Customer Focus1. Focus on the customer.

I strongly believe that having a ‘focus on the customer’ attitude when I am working on a project helps me be more focused and create a better product. Whether the quilt has an actual customer or not is not the key here, but knowing who I am making a quilt for helps focus my attention and design goals. If I am making a quilt as a demo for a quilt pattern, I need to remember to take a lot of process photos. If I am making a quilt and need to keep it secret, I need to remember not to blog about it! If I am making a quilt using a new technique that I am excited about, I can write a tutorial to share tips with my blog readers. But most importantly, when I am making a quilt specifically for someone, I have found it works really well to keep them in mind as I work and make decisions. If nothing else, I believe it is a quiet meditation and joyous process to put that much thought and care into the creation of a quilt for someone, and I believe they can feel it when they use the quilt, too.

Open Communication

2. Frequent, open communication is key.

Whether that is writing blog posts or sending emails with photo updates to customers, keeping communication lines open is critical. Recently I have had occasion to be reminded of this philosophy because I did not do as good a job at keeping frequent, open communication flowing. Sometimes the best lessons are the ones hard earned, and I want to honor that knowledge by trying to keep from repeating the lesson!

Quilt for Eliza - Getting Lots of Love!
Quilt for Eliza – Getting Lots of Love!

3. Quilts are made to be loved.

This is to help me remember the ultimate goal and use of what I create. Sometimes, perfection is not the perfect solution. Quilts are cozy and lovable, and that is what I want to focus on.

steve jobs quote

4. You can make money with the craft you love.

A bit of positive reinforcement for myself here. I am actually working to file taxes for the first time as a small business this week, and while I didn’t become a millionaire selling my quilts last year, I am really impressed with what I was able to accomplish. I believe having a positive outlook here will help attract others who are looking for what I have to offer.

Do you have a design philosophy? What are the companies or other individuals with philosophies that you admire?


  • I’m not sure if I’ve sold enough paper piecing patterns to warrant tax filing, but whether I can call my quilt/blog world a business or not, I should consider some principles. I think, in general, your third principle resonates wih me the most. Many of the people who have received a quilt gift from me come up and say, apologetically, “I had to wash your quilt.” I have to remind them that it’s now their quilt. And, it’s supposed to be used and loved…. and definitely washed. Someday I might enter a quilt show, but for now, what inspires me are color and pattern and cozy softness – precision is fun to aspire to, but I don’t want it to get in the way of making things right now.

    • The tax filing this year was a bit of a trial run for me, Daisy. I had an overall loss, but I have earned enough that I am going to have to file sales tax back to my state in July (that is going to be another learning experience!). I think that you are right about not letting things get in the way of making items. It can be crippling to have too many thoughts and ideas about what “should” be when instead the whole reason I am doing this at all is for the joy of creation. Hmmm… I might need to think on that a bit more. 🙂

  • I think my big philosophy for quilting is, “Perfect isn’t flawless. Perfect is finished.” And “quilts are made to be loved” comes in as a close second. I love finishing and I loved quilts being used. Whether it is to hang on a wall or cuddle up in.

  • I feel like I am just starting to scratch the surface of nailing this down for myself. Keeping the big picture and goals/philosophies like this in front of ourselves consistently is definitely something that would help with staying on track and being more true to what we wish to accomplish. Thanks for the list…it’s reminding me to forget to keep working this out.

    • I think the only way to keep big picture ideas in mind is to discuss it often. With crafting or any other kind of DIY work, it seems really easy (for me, anyway) to get mired in the details of a particular project. But often if I can back up and re-frame it even oddly helps me see beyond details that have gone astray.

  • I’ve not seen Google’s list before, it’s great so thanks for sharing it. From what I see from your blog, you do really well sticking to your list already, and I’m sure that will continue!

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)