Open design is a small idea in the huge field of design. It is an idea that is spreading though, and an idea I think should spread. The book Open Design Now is dedicated to it and has a number of articles, essays and stories about what it means to be open and how the idea is being implemented.

You’re probably wondering what does it mean to be open? Well it is akin to open-source coding, where the product and the machinations are free for anyone to tweak and modify. This doesn’t mean there is no money involved, as the book on openness can attest, what it means is that the products are not bound by proprietariness. That products, and potentially the resources that went into making that products, are accessible and able to be modified to fit the needs of the consumer.

As an example here is a fun essay about how the Makerbot business got started. You can always do a google search and see more about it too.