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IBM Design principles provide clear criteria for the conception, craftsmanship and creativity our brand demands and our clients deserve. They are for designers and non-designers alike, anyone authoring or authorizing any form of design on behalf of IBM.

Carefully Considered

Design is an exercise of decision-making; experience, judgement, responsibility and timing. These softer skills are difficult to distribute. Before we decide to do anything, we must consider its usefulness and utility to others. Then, we must determine how committed we are to enthusiastically explore and progressively deliver the full potential of a design.

  • Is it IBM to do? Is it essential? Is it opinionated?
  • Do we have the resources we need to fully realize a design’s impact and intent?
  • Have we removed everything gratuitous?
  • Does an execution respect the time being asked for to experience it?

Uniquely Unified

In order to guide, continuity and creativity must co-exist in design. Both of these qualities must be recognizable. Successful systems require both fixed and fluid elements of expression. The elements that bind all experiences are essential to providing a unified look, feel and tone. The innovative ways in which we use these elements delivers distinction and uniqueness.

  • Are we delivering recognizable, repeatable, reusable solutions?
  • Does solving one problem shorten the distance to another solution?
  • If you covered up our logo or name, would you identify an execution as being designed by IBM?
  • Does one experience family well, reinforce and support another, side-by-side?

Expertly Executed

Everything communicates, both the things we do and the things we don’t do. The care and craft we put into every experience is equal to any confidence or consideration we should expect in return. Every execution of IBM should exude expertise. This extends to the partners we choose to work with. We embrace the best of the best. And we never limit the impact of our ideas to our own abilities to deliver completely our design intent.

  • Can an experience be improved? If so, keep exploring.
  • Are we working with the right talent, team or timeframe?
  • Are we doing more with less?
  • Have we left any detail overlooked?
  • Can you feel the care and craft put into the experience?

Positively Progressive

To guide is to lead. We are a Company with a history of firsts, including ‘good design’. We are forward thinkers, futurists. We believe in and are dedicated to advancing the world around us, positively, progressively. Every design should present these qualities.

  • Think ahead. Is it additive or advancing?
  • Does it communicate confidence and positivity?
  • What is ingenious or innovative about the experience?
  • Have we removed all friction or obstacles to understanding or usability?
  • Does it render the previous permanently replaced?
  • Does it give more than it takes?