My Design: Tito F. Williams II

Recent CoID graduate Tito F. Williams II shares his thoughts on his personal definition of design.

As a program, CoID is diverse with students coming from all different backgrounds to work together. This diversity brings a richness to the program that is both unique and exciting. In a new series, current CoID students, alumni, and professors will share what design means to them.

Design is how I pay rent.

This rent is not paid with money, there is no bank or broker to manage late fees and notices. No, when I think of what design means to me I think of Shirley Chisholm, (U.S. Senator) who once said “service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.” It is through Design how I am of service to my community and others.

From grade school to present, I have had the need to see meaning in my work. It was during my undergraduate studies I learned I could fuel my fledgling career in Industrial Design with my need to positively impact my community. I learned how design could serve people by working with projects rooted in critical systemic challenges. I helped improved operations that sought to develop radical hospitality services to serve communities experiencing homelessness and transient housing. I developed a curriculum to build creative confidence of high school students who have been overlooked by their previous educational institutions. It is this kind of service to people, where I found my meaning for Design. These days I continue this service by working on projects in sexual and reproductive health, gender equality, disability, and sustainability.

What motivates me to design and design well, is seeing communities thrive. Whether conducting field research, co-creation workshops, testing or implementing a solution, moments where design facilitates ease, pride, inspiration, catharsis, or joy, in people and their community is where I find my meaning in design. Design is meant to make our lives and the live of others better.

Products, services, infrastructures, and systems of policy are all designed by someone, and I believe good design acts in service to people and the environment we all share. It seeks to improve quality of life, sees problems as opportunities and establishes new equitable and just norms for wellbeing and welfare. Design is empathetic, informed, compassionate, unbiased, self-reflective, critical, rigorous, and optimistic.

Finally, I believe Design is service to others, and it is how I chose to pay my rent for the privilege of living on this earth.

Tito F. Williams II
Collaborative and Industrial Design MA

Illustration by Alessia Menegolli