Biomimicry DesignLens

Biomimicry DesignLens

“How do we make the act of asking nature’s advice a normal part of everyday inventing?”
–Janine Benyus

Nature can help you see differently. Our approach can help you see nature.

What is the DesignLens?

The Biomimicry DesignLens is a collection of diagrams that visually represent the foundations of our design approach. It includes the core components of this approach: Essential Elements, Life’s Principles, and Biomimicry Thinking (learn more about each component below).

What is the DesignLens used for?

Biomimicry and the DesignLens can help you deeply observe the way life works and provide a framework for using nature’s genius to inform human design.

How do I use the DesignLens?

The DesignLens is intended to complement your biomimicry practice and education. You can browse the materials on our site, or download the Toolkit Folder to print the diagrams or use them in presentations.

To successfully integrate the DesignLens into your work, it is helpful to have some training in biomimicry methodology. We teach best practices in our biomimicry courses and certificate programs. Our Biomimicry Affiliate partners also offer coursework in biomimicry at the university level.


We have developed and refined the DesignLens since 1998, when we began consulting with Fortune 500 companies and teaching educators and students, governments, and non-profits how biomimicry could transform their work. Like life itself, the way we think about biomimicry continues to evolve, and this version of the DesignLens reflects new discoveries in both science and application.

We believe that sharing is the currency of a healthy ecosystem. Thanks to our community around the world, The Design Lens is now available in Spanish, Dutch, German, French, Italian, and Traditional Chinese (see download links below). Please distribute these resources to your colleagues. View our Creative Commons usage guide here.

Click the graphics below to learn about each core component of the DesignLens:

We Are All Designers

At Biomimicry 3.8, we use the term “designer” broadly to refer to anyone responsible for conceiving of, creating, and implementing ideas that affect human cultural, technological, social, scientific, or financial systems at any scale. Perhaps you didn’t realize you were designing, but you are when you create some new form that had not existed.

If you’d like to learn more about how to use the Biomimicry DesignLens, consider enrolling in or taking one of our Professional Training programs. To start read the Biomimicry Resource Handbook: A Seed Bank of Best Practices (2015) by Dr. Dayna Baumeister. For more in-depth training, explore the Certified Biomimicry Professional or Biomimicry Specialist Certification programs, both of which provide hands-on opportunities to deepen your biomimicry practice and apply these tools to your area of expertise.

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