The Four Planets

A book open where the left facing page has images with a square element that needs to fit into an underlying grid. The right facing page has a note about Material Design and the importance of grids.

This website is best experienced as a printed book that you receive when you join us at Automattic Design.


The Four Planets

“Deep Design” traverses four states. Ideally, fluidly. And never staying for too long in one particular state of being. We liken it to Pablo Picasso’s dynamic work of Light Paintings.

1

Discovery
Problem
Finding

2

Hypothesis
Problem
Addressing

3

Deliver
Solution
Shipping

4

Listen
Solution
Verifying

 

Planet Discovery
Learn

A person in a spacesuit on a barren planet with a flashlight pointed outwards into the darkness.

The Four Planets illustrations are by acclaimed artist Marly Gallardo.

Where we go to understand product landscapes and find the real problems that need answers. Its pull seems safe, but that’s a mistake. Orbits decay quickly, and it’s easy to use up your fuel crafting solutions. Remember — you’re not actually building anything here. Gather information, then move on before you burn up, leaving nothing behind.

Planet Hypothesis
Test

A person holding a test tube that is bubbling and appears a little dangerous.

Visit to test at a rapid pace, using the information mined from Discovery as fuel. The more tests the better; speed now makes you more effective on the further-out planets. Prototype, test, and go. Don’t get too attached to any one test or look for perfect solutions — you’ll miss the launch window for Planet Deliver.

Planet Deliver
Build

Two people who are high in orbit over a planet and precariously fixing the structure they're building.

It’s time to build. This enormous planet offers massive rewards, tempered with massive dangers. As soon as you enter its orbit, the lights start flashing. The smell of ozone hits the air, the walls shake, and the ship feels like it could blow at any time. Here’s where things really start to happen — but beware the seduction of endless discussions and insignificant changes that lead to entropy. Go in with a plan, and get out fast. You can make it.

Planet Listen
Observe

A pilot listening carefully to a person on the screen whilst flying high above the planet in their spaceship.

A secretive, resource-rich planet on the outskirts of this system, only accessible by shippers that made it to Deliver and got out. Circling Planet Listen can feel like inactivity, but the precious fuel mined here will power multiple expeditions — usage is like oxygen for ideas. You may need to warp back to Deliver again and again for the energy to extract it all. It’s worth it.