Designers need to stop focusing on features and return to the linguistics of products to spur real innovation.

Future-forward product designer Matthew Waldman, founder of design and fashion brand Nooka, spoke at PSFK CONFERENCE 2014 about how real innovation comes from focusing on the linguistics of design.

Drawing inspiration from his techno-progressivist philosophy and belief that global standardization and universal language are humanity's best bet for advancement, Matthew creates products that avoid the ‘feature-itis' of flashy new gadgets. He explores what will communicate a concept or idea most clearly in a 3D form. The example he gives of how :) expresses the complex idea of happiness or how polka dot patterns represent the stars in the sky shows that something doesn't need to be complicated itself to convey a big idea. This is the linguistics of design that he challenges himself to identify and create in physical products.

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