Primitives: Both a material and a tool

The “design of primitives” should be a clearly defined subset of interaction design with its own language. We see primitives all around us. Legos are primitives that many of us are familiar with. Their popularity and function are so basic that millions of children and adults have used them.

There is a need for having a well defined set of design principles for creating primitives. In the example of Legos, we see that 1) a design space is created by defining some constraints (such as in the domain physical space). 2) There is the ability for the primitives to be used in conjunction with each other. 3) Good primitives can be enhanced and they should be designed so that enhancements are backwards compatible. 4) Primitives simplify the creation of designs. They empower people to do things. 5) Primitives foster creativity. 6) They define us, and we define them.

Can anyone think of some other principles or themes for the design of effective primitives?  Or can you reference some literature on the design of effective primitives?

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