What does the founder of modern nursing, a feared pirate, and one of the great designers of the 20th century have in common?

Design can often feel like a lofty subject, best saved for academics and design nerds clad in black turtlenecks. But historically, design has not been relegated to the very few. In fact, if we look at history and at the future of design, the best, most innovative designers have looked quite different!

Where to pirates, nurses, and architects fit into this? They are the rebel designers of history!

Today we are sharing with you a wonderful TED Talk from the design critic Alice Rawsthorn that takes the definition of a “designer” and turns it on its head.

Via: TED 1

Design is for Everyone!

So what does this mean for you and me?

As someone who studied design at university, I love this talk because it speaks to the importance of the democratization of design. You don’t need to have studied design to be a designer. In fact, as Alice Rawsthorn points out, great designers are the people who see a problem and use their intuition and firsthand knowledge to find a solution! And that means we all have the potential to become “designers” in our own ways.

The future belongs to the rebels and renegades who see a problem and find intuitive ways to fix it. In thinking think about the future, I am most excited by the innovation that comes from people using what they have on hand to fix problems that are very often universal.

So, design on!

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!


Meet Some More Great Innovators!

We have featured a lot of great innovators here at EWC and whether you are looking for a little inspiration or just need a reason to look forward to the future I suggest you head over to our Innovation Category where you will find all our articles featuring ideas and people worth celebrating!

Oh, and make sure you take a second to subscribe below so that you never miss out on a daily dose of optimism!


  1. Rawsthorn, Alice. “Pirates, Nurses and Other Rebel Designers | Alice Rawsthorn.” YouTube. TED, 26 May 2016. Web. 23 Mar. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vC1uxXvPG0Q>.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

COO Ever Widening Circles

Liesl is a camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often floundering—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV