Method in Action

Design Principles


In 2011, the Bezos Family Foundation came to looking to rethink early childhood education for low-income communities. Children of these families often show up for kindergarten unprepared to learn, and Bezos knew that by providing tools, information, and assistance that parents need, they would be more able to give their children the best start in life. It was up to the design team to figure out how to get these tools into the hands of parents. What delivered was a multi-faceted campaign that reframes good parenting and reflects the realities faced by low-income parents, while amplifying their strengths.


“No matter what we create, from service to product to experience...our design will be relevant when we stay true to these seven Design Principles,” declared the design team working with the Bezos Family Foundation. Born from the insights the team came to while conducting and synthesizing its Inspiration phase research, these seven Design Principles served as the underlying ethos of the project, and a roadmap to how it should look, feel, and behave. So for instance, in design principle #3 (“We speak in the voice of their peers.”), the design team defined a fundamental tenet around the tone that the campaign would use. From an early stage of prototyping to further refinement and eventually during launch, all iterations fall in line with that essential goal—talking to parents in a voice that they can related to and that takes into account the realities of their lives.

Design principles


These design principles enabled the entire design team to get on the same page quickly and continue iterating on ideas without losing the essence of their concept. They set the tone, voice, and approach of the campaign during the design process and, furthermore, they act as an instruction manual for anyone joining after the fact and adding to their idea. This way the solution seamlessly evolved without the risk of losing its core values.

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Jacqui Watts
A core piece of's mission is to bring the tools of human-centered design into the hands of those around the world looking to see how design can play a role in their work towards poverty-related challenges. As Learning Specialist, I work with our design teams and our global community to bring these tools to life—including Design Kit, the Field Guide to Human-Centered Design, and the +Acumen Course for Human-Centered Design. Find out more at, and enjoy :)

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