Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Art and Design


Though what defines good design is subject to personal opinion, some objectivity of good design in existing products is mutually and consistently recognized by design professionals, the business sector, and the consumer public. Despite the complexity of defining good design, there clearly exist measurable, objective, common threads of design value which create elevated designs, across disciplines, which are identifiable and accepted by those within and beyond design professions.

By first examining over 100 contemporary product designs and identifying measurable, objective commonalities which elevate them, this thesis then individually examines and outlines ten categories of common design values. Once these design values are clearly understood, they are used as an objective tool to breakdown fifteen products and identify in what ways the designs are elevated.

The multidisciplinary range of these fifteen products emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of this method of objective examination as "there is a fluid and pervasive overlap between architecture, identity, fashion, products, packaging, interiors, automobiles, computer interfaces, and so on," (Dent & Sherr, 2014).

This thesis concludes that these ten categories of design values are common threads of good design, then emphasizes the value in studying holistic and interdisciplinary design, provides a framework for design students and educators to discuss design value and evaluate the design value of student projects, and illustrates the commonalities brought about by designers across design fields.



Faculty Mentor

Susie Tibbitts

Departmental Honors Advisor

Sarah Urquhart