grok | gräk |
verb (groks, grokking, grokked) [ with obj. ] US informal
understand (something) intuitively or by empathy.
[ no obj. ] empathize or communicate sympathetically; establish a rapport.
mid 20th cent.: a word coined by Robert Heinlein (1907–88), American science fiction writer, in Stranger in a Strange Land.
I've always loved this word, ever since I read Stranger in a Strange Land. It's also how I've worked to approach design: with a deeper understanding, with empathy. Without this, design is simply aesthetics, a veneer of attractiveness—which, sometimes, may be enough, just a little something to catch the eye. I worry, however, that once the eye is caught, the seer may become immediately disinterested or, worse, antagonistic to the message being delivered. I want to avoid communications that have empty calories, messages that are only skin deep. It takes some time to develop an effective design, satisfying to both client and customer, and it is a worthy goal within the commercial and social confines that we tend to find highly-designed, compelling messages. Let's do this.