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What I care about most as a designer

In college - UK college, not American college - we were told that we should choose four subjects to study in the first year, and then drop one of them for the second year.

This was a recommendation, not a requirement, so when it came to the second year and I couldn't decide which subject to stop studying, I decided not to drop any. Then when it came to applying to university, I was offered a lower entry requirement because I had continued to study four subjects at college.

As an aside, the college never told us that we might get a lower entry requirement for university if we decided not to drop any subjects. Maybe they should work that into their recommendation.

The point is that I didn't specialise, and it paid off. I was rewarded for continuing to study more subjects than other people. This is what I'm currently doing, with design. I'm buying books and watching videos and reading articles on any topic that seems interesting, which is most of them.

Many people seem to specialise in their design careers, and this probably helps them to become well known and well qualified for a specific area, get noticed quicker, and probably get a highly-paid or fulfilling job easier.

All of those things sound good, but I can't really bring myself to specialise. I can't bring myself to focus on one area of design and focus less on the others.

But in the four or so years I've been designing so far, I have realised that I have certain passions at the next level up from "areas" of design. Let's call them principles - they're things that affect your design regardless of what your focus is or what you're building. Here they are:

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