Explaining how design affects our daily lives is no easy task…especially when it involves trying to simplify it in terms that a young population can grasp. Between the complexities of city planning to the reasons why houses and products are built a specific way, there is a lot of info to sort of ‘sum up’ in a single discussion. As a part of their MakeShapeChange campaign, Pivot Dublin–a Dublin City Council initiative to get young people excited about design thinking–released this nearly 7-minute animated film that while absent of any words, successfully shows how and why good design works.

Shape: An Animated Short on Design Thinking

You can use this guide from the MakeShapeChange site to help follow along with the above video:

History – Before our film even begins we get a whirlwind history of design. The letters in the films name morph into objects that have changed the way we work, think and live.

Homes – In this clip the window moves and grows, from looking onto a brick wall to letting the sun stream in and bringing the landscape into view.

Information – As Dad enters his office building he gets very confused by the poorly designed signs. It sorts itself into a much more organised system allowing him to get to his office.

Spaces – As Dad is walking, the walls slide down, making an open space. Seen from above, desks move and shift into different formations changing the way the people work together.

Experiences – In the classroom we see the blackboard come alive as the planets turn into holograms* and the children gather round. [*This isn’t real just yet]

Objects – The phone rings and sets off a chain reaction of chair changes. While each new chair meets a particular need at that moment, it’s only the comfortable office chair that suits the overall situation.

Communications – In this clip we see the girl reading something that hurts her eyes. The page changes shape, adds images and makes it easier and more fun to read, before turning into a digital book.

Technology – As Dad sits down at his desk, a giant stack of things to do is waiting for him. It transforms into a simple, organised and easy to manage To-Do list that he can use on his computer.

Communities – A space between buildings that’s been forgotten and become messy is transformed into a living park.

(Images via MakeShapeChange)


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.