Photo credit: Anne Aretz, Instagram


October 8-9, 2013

Design Research Conference

ITT Institute of Design

Chicago, Illinois


“Ego Ergo Ego”

by Matthew Clark



In an increasingly dynamic world, professional designers are often agents of change. Designers must creatively balance many forces. They must assert confidence to advance new perspectives yet maintain a sensitive understanding of users. They must embrace and employ technology while carefully considering the impact of pervasive technology on human beings.


The 12th annual Design Research Conference hosted by IIT Institute of Design explored design’s role in mediating these forces: Are they opposable? Synthesized? Unified? Practicing designers, artists, scientists, engineers, educators, and entrepreneurs presented a variety of perspectives on balancing multiple creative forces amidst complex systems and issues.


Matthew was invited to speak about “Ego” in design (cue laugh track). Titling his talk, Ego Ergo Ego, he shared perspectives on ego in design from several perspectives: from ego as “conceited” and “inflated sense of worth”; to ego as “self”; to ego as Freud’s mediator between the Id and Superego and as a rational principle within the creative process.


Joining other speakers who boasted PhDs in engineering, mathematics, genetics and the arts, to practicing designers of all stripes, Matthew shared philosophical and practical examples of good and bad ego and, ultimately, how to tame and harness the ego to bring the most to the design process.


Sketchnotes by Stephani Bachetti

[more images here]