Stacey’s Design Principles

Stacey Mendez
3 min readOct 28, 2020


As a designer, I work with clients and in teams to create new opportunities using design to ask questions and solve problems. Naturally, this influences how I make decisions when approaching design challenges.

I have decided to publicly share my five principles below as the driver for these decisions. Feel free to use them as an inspiration, or reach out to discuss them with me.

Design to solve a problem (not cover it up)

During my years in the industry I have had countless times meeting people who believe ‘design’ or ‘designers’ are the ones you call to make something pretty, fancy, powerful or sexy. That we specialize in doing a ‘quick fix’ to an actual bigger problem. As a designer I don’t believe in cutting corners in this way. Essentially, you are just adding more complexity to a fundamentally flawed resolution. Instead, I believe in identifying and solving the real problem and then of course have fun adding all the bells and whistles.

Design is a strategic tool for success

2014 was the beginnings of my first entrepreneurial experiences. This was the time I realised that while design is important, it is not the be-all and end-all to success. In fact, it is only part of the equation, and much better used as a conduit between non-design functions. I believe design works best when it is used as a strategic tool to identify success metrics, such as; the costs to develop and produce the final idea, the price the customer is willing to pay for the outcome as a way to solve their problem and, or, the opportunity scope to innovate and create a new and better future.

Be meaningful. Be responsible. Be human-focused.

Majority, if not everything we create as designers ends up being used, viewed or experienced by another person. While we are now designing to solve 21st century problems with access to a broader range of digital possibilities and technologies. It does not mean that these new technologies and digital possibilities are automatically the answer to a human problem. It is a responsibility to ensure the right solution is ‘designed’ to help people move forward, irrespective of the format.

Real design value lies within the thinking

I believe it is the thinking that has the power to innovate, connect and enable positive change within society, people and organisations. I view design thinking as an approach to problem-solving that goes way beyond the traditional design-orientated activities or design specialisms people are categorised into. It is focused on asking questions, collecting user-needs, user feedback, experimentation, generating prototype models, gathering feedback, and redesigning in a cyclical way (F.Darbellay, 2017). This is the approach I am familiar with and have used, whether I was designing a toothbrush, a music device, an app or even a brochure.

Be open, even when it’s tough.

To solve a real problem or create a better future, you need to be open. Open to a new way of working. Open to honest feedback. Open to diversity. Open to questions (why?, who? what? how?). And open to the fact in the end, you either win or you learn.

Thanks for reading. I’m a Design Leader, writer and speaker. I help to create complete experiences for end-consumers and businesses.

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Stacey Mendez

ID/UX Design Leader from UK. Formerly Design Director in Asia.