Emphasising design that truly matter

MAXMATTER is the manifesto of Max Bessone, a freelance graphic designer in Wellington New Zealand. This is a summary of the values that drive him to do best, as designer and human.

Head meets heart

I really believe that to be a designer is a social responsibility.
Nothing less of a doctor who saves people lives, every day. I know, it doesn’t make sense, right?

Think about it. Humans developed communication abilities that other animals do not have, and these abilities made humans the dominant species on Earth. This enormous power can be branched off into two major categories; relational and rhetorical. Relational communication processes are based on personal relationships such as romantic relationships, family relationships or friendships. While rhetorical communication is primarily based on the study of influence others, and designers get trained on it for years.

When designers have stronger moral values and realise how important their role is for the society, people have a chance to enjoy better and more responsible products. Thoughtful design is what makes a product ‘great’ and last for generations to come. Thoughtfulness is a quality that comes from the heart with the best of intentions in mind, and not something that we can simply apply to a process. Develop empathy is what a thoughtful designer need, in order to design the best tools for a doctor to save people lives, for example.

Designers don’t save lives, doctors do. Instead they solve everyday problems to people and this isn’t a lesser responsibility.

I want to help communities to understand that design can be a human-centered mission, a framework to solve users’ problems and make their life better. Because when we use better products we become better humans.

Designing with empathy

I struggled for years thinking what ‘good design is’.

Is it maybe a beautiful creation? And who decide what’s ‘beautiful’? Is it not ‘beautiful’ something subjective?


Reason why I believe designers should design what really matter to their audience. Put aside prejudices, personal preferences and work in service of people.

Have you ever seen a doctor choosing his/her patients? No, because every lives matter!

Designers who deeply understand the problems they solve and put themselves into users’ shoes, design for people who interact with brands and not for brands. This requires empathy, which I believe is the key for ‘good design’. That kind of design that really makes a difference to people.

Thinking of an ever evolving world

Human needs fundamentally don’t change. The ways we address them do.

Consider this: we’re still improving the way we get from Point A to Point B. Yesterday’s horse-drawn carriage was a prototype for today’s automobile. Today’s automobile is just another prototype for tomorrow’s transportation breakthrough. The problem is defined by a fundamental human need: getting from A to B. The solution at any point in time, is situated in the constraints and affordances of the era: technological advancements, evolving resources, changing consumer expectations.

Fundamentally, there will always be a better solution just around the corner.

If we recognise that from the perspective of our users, no solution is perfect, every project can be treated as a prototype. How we develop it, will make the difference. Blending intelligent creativity with a sincere collaborative approach, to:

Designing for outcomes

Often, companies get design wrong. Designers frequently argue clients get the aesthetic wrong. To me, design actually fails when people haven’t designed in human terms. Walking off from our own ego is the hardest part in the design process. Good design works when people do what you want them to do, as a result of what they are presented with.

Be authentically thoughtful

To provide authentically thoughtful experiences, designers must be more than user-centered, they must be human-centered. Know people first as people, not as user or customers, and see the world as they see it.

Thinking  ahead

No one can see the future, yet we all must make guesses about it in order to make decisions and be better prepared for what comes our way. The guesses that we make aren’t based on seeing the future, but on our knowledge and past experiences, with a little bit of insight mixed in. Using intuition as a “lead” rather than as a solution is the key.

Taking users to heart

Users’ world is inevitably more complicated than what’s observable on the surface. It should be considered, to drive the impact a product will have on them. A brand is only as good as the user experience of its products, and give to people the best experience will make a product unique.

Designing with soul

Give personality to a product, and design to surprise. Each project is unique and it should be treated as such.
Designing with soul is not limited to delivering a quality product, it always aims to innovate, improve, amaze and match as much as possible to people needs.

Solve old problems in a new way

In the 21st Century, design can be used responsibly as a powerful tool to change human behavior for a preferable future. Learnings about bias in decision-making and the complexities of behavior change is knowledge that must be incorporated when we embark on design challenges. Fields such as cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and anthropology are great resources for discovering human behaviors and should be integrated into the design process.

Understand the present to envision the future

If research is the discipline of understanding the world, design is the discipline of shaping it. While research asks “what is?” design asks “what should be?” Design problems are problems with no predetermined solution. They are questions with no right answer. Embracing three simple steps as model for action, can help during the design thinking process.


Immerse yourself in the real world


Come together and look within


Give concrete form to abstract ideas

  • Ideas come from a deep understanding of the real-world problems. This understanding isn’t gained by staying set at the desk, instead by getting out of the building and meeting the users we are trying to solve the problem to. Understand their context, uncover hidden needs and hear their honest and unfettered feedback, helps to design a better product. Understanding can not be delegated.

  • Reflecting brings people together to synchronise the movements and synthesise what has been learned. It requires the empathy to understand diverse prospectives, the flexibility to respond to change and the integrity to stay true on the values. But also to be honest about what you know and be open to what you hear, positive and negative.

  • Give concrete form to ideas in order to explore possibilities, communicate new solutions, prototype concepts, and drive real-world outcomes.
 The earlier we make, the faster we learn so don’t wait until an idea is perfect, it won’t happen.
    Audacity is the boost that puts an idea into the world. We might be wrong, and there is nothing wrong with that.


Differentiation through diversity

Teams of diverse people, see the same problem from many angles.
Consider the last time someone disagreed with you. Did you listen to understand their argument, or did you listen to poke holes in it? Did you explore the underlying reasons behind their point of view, or did you seek reinforcement from others who shared yours? Diversity invites conflict, and conflict should be a wellspring of creativity.

I’m a passionate italian designer, in New Zealand. My diversity is an unique perspective that I bring into every project, widening the range of possible outcomes.