A wonderful, photo-filled coffee table book, Eames Design; The Work of the Office of Charles and Ray Eames, includes a 1969 Q & A session with Charles Eames and Madame L’Amic of the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, in conjunction with a design exhibit at the Louvre.
Here are a few choice tidbits from that session (which, by the way, was later used as the audio track for a film the Eames Office made on the design process called, “Design Q&A”).
Q: What is your definition of design?
A: A plan for arranging elements in such a way as to best accomplish a particular purpose.
Q: What are the boundaries of design?
A: What are the boundaries of problems?
Q: Does the creation of design admit constraint?
A: Design depends largely on constraints.
Q: What constraints?
A: The sum of all constraints. Here is one of the few effective keys to the design problem: the ability of the designer to recognize as many of the constraints as possible (and) his willingness and enthusiasm for working within these constraints—the constraints of price, size, strength, balance, surface, time, etc.; each problem has its own peculiar list.
Q: To whom does design address itself: to the greatest number (the masses)? The specialists…the enlightened amateur…a privileged social class?
A: To the need.