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06 APRIL 2014

State of Design: How Design Education Must Change

"But design faces an uncertain future. The traditional design fields create artifacts. But new societal challenges, cultural values, and technological opportunities require new skills. Design today is more human–centered and more social, more rooted in technology and science than ever before. Moreover, there is need for services and processes that do not require the great craft skills that are the primary outcome of a design education.

Although design can sometimes bring creative insight to new problems, this ability is more of an art than a science, limited to a few especially talented individuals and design firms. In order to expand beyond chance successes, design needs better tools and methods, more theory, more analytical techniques, and more understanding of how art and science, technology and people, theory and practice can commingle effectively and productively. ...

Design is still mainly taught as a craft. There are remarkably few fundamental principles, almost no science. If design is to live up to its promise it must create new, enduring curricula for design education that merge science and technology, art and business, and indeed, all the knowledge of the university. Design is an all–encompassing field that integrates together business and engineering, the social sciences and the arts. We see a tremendous opportunity for students that learn design in this integrated way. ...

For design to succeed, grow, achieve its potential, and train future leaders, we envision a new curriculum. In our vision, these new programs combine learning the art and craft of beautiful, pleasurable well–crafted design with substantive courses in the social and biological sciences, in technology, mathematics and statistics, and in the understanding of experimental methods and rigorous reasoning. Programming and mechatronics are essential skills in today's product world. Not only will this training make for better practitioners, but it will also equip future generations of designers to be better at developing the hard, rigorous theory design requires.

Design is an exciting powerful field, filled with promise. To meet the challenges of the 21st century, design and design education must change. So too must universities."

(Don Norman and Scott Klemmer, 25 March 2014)

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TAGS

2014 • analytical techniques • analytical thinkingart and design education • behavioural sciences • call to actioncomplex phenomenacraft and materialscraft skills • creative insight • creative leaders • deductive reasoning • design academics • design and visual culturedesign artefactsdesign craftdesign curriculadesign curriculumdesign educationdesign education must changedesign facultydesign methodsdesign pedagogydesign studio educationdesign theory • design theory and practice • design thinkingdisciplinary specialisationDonald Normanexperimental methodsexperimental type design • finding and solving problems • formal design methodsfundamental principlesinductive reasoningintegrative practicesinterdisciplinary knowledge • LinkedIn Influencers (series) • material practicesmateriality of artefacts • mechatronics • people and society • people and technology • practical theory • practice and theorypractitioner wisdomquestioning traditionsScott Klemmersynthetic thinkingsystematic approachsystems thinking • technology and people • technology designtheory and practicetheory of designthinking toolsuncertain future • well-crafted design

CONTRIBUTOR

Linda Carroli
19 NOVEMBER 2013

Applying Heidegger's Philosophy to Design

"Heidegger's philosophy offers what is arguably the most thorough account of the process of human understanding available. Although his analysis of interpretation is useful if one is to understand activities like innovative design, it never addresses the realm of design directly. Heidegger discusses interpretation at a high level of generality and chooses his examples from interactions between people and physical artifacts, like the use of hammers by carpenters. He is concerned with the nature of understandingly being in the world. While a person's world includes conceptual and imaginative realms like design, Heidegger's examples primarily come from the world of physical artifacts which can be encountered perceptually. ...

Heidegger treats artifacts in the world the same way he would treat design artifacts on the drawing board. That is, he is not really concerned with them as physically present objects of perception. On the contrary, his main effort philosophically is to distinguish artifacts–in–use from traditional conceptions of physically–present–objects. For example, a hammer in use is not understood by the carpenter as an observed object with physical attributes, but is skillfully applied to the activities of the current situation. Furthermore, this skillful use takes place within the context of future–oriented plans and desires, such as the anticipation of the item that is under construction. This is similar to components of a design, which are skillfully arranged in terms of their relationships to other design components and within the context of the anticipated final design. Marks in a design sketch, for instance, are important for their roles within a network of significances, rather than for their physical properties as lines. Interpretation of both physical artifacts and designs is situated. ...

The notion of breakdown in action plays a rather small role in Heidegger's analysis of human understanding. Heidegger uses examples of breakdown in order to make explicit the network of references among artifacts that are only present tacitly under conditions of normal use. Yet, the notion of breakdown has been elevated to central importance in the theories that have tried to adopt Heidegger's analysis to a theory of design and to operationalize this theory for computer support. Thus, breakdown plays an important role in Schön (1985), Winograd & Flores (1986), Suchman (1987), Ehn (1988), Budde & Züllighoven (1990), McCall, Morch, & Fischer (1990), Dreyfus (1991), Coyne & Snodgrass (1991), Fischer & Nakakoji (1992).

The fact that so many writers influenced by Heidegger have focused on breakdown does not provide multiple independent support for this emphasis. ... most of these writers have been influenced by Heidegger only indirectly–either through Dreyfus or through Schön. If one looks closely at the discussions of breakdown in Dreyfus and Schön, one can note an ambiguity in whether they are speaking about a (ontological) breakdown in the network of references or a (practical) breakdown in action. Dreyfus is certainly aware of the ontological role of breakdown, but he is concerned to make his presentation acceptable to an American audience, trained in the rationalist tradition. For the sake of concreteness, he uses examples that stress the breakdown in action. Schön is also aware of the ontological ramifications, but he has couched his discussion in terms of action (e.g., knowing–in–action, reflection–in–action), so it often seems that his examples of breakdown exemplify breakdowns in action rather than breakdowns in situated understanding. Given that it is easier to operationalize breakdowns in action than breakdowns in situated understanding, it is not surprising that people interested in producing practical results from Dreyfus or Schön's theories would tend to emphasize the action–oriented reading of the ambiguous discussions."

(Gerry Stahl, 5 January 2004)

TAGS

action-oriented reading • Adrian Snodgrass • Anders Morch • anticipation • artefacts-in-use • being-in-the-worldbreakdown • breakdown in action • breakdown in the network of references • breakdowns in action • breakdowns in situated understanding • carpenter • conceptual domain • concreteness • current situationdesign artefactsdesign innovation • design sketch • design theoryDonald Schon • drawing board • Fernando Floresflow • Gerhard Fischer • Gerry Stahl • hammer • Heinz Zullighoven • Hubert Dreyfushuman perception • human understanding • innovative design • knowing-in-action • Kumiyo Nakakoji • Lucy Suchman • Martin Heidegger • nature of understanding • network of references • network of significances • normal use • objects of perception • Pelle Ehn • philosophy of design • physical artefacts • physical attributes • physical properties • physically present • physically-present-objects • rationalist tradition • Raymond McCall • reflection-in-action • Reinhard Budde • Richard Coynesituated construction of realitysituated knowledgessketching ideas • skillful use • Terry Winogradtheory of design

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
09 NOVEMBER 2013

Design Fiction as Pedagogic Practice: Towards a fictionally biased design education

"My challenge is how to construct and design an educational curriculum that develops the wide range of skills and knowledge it takes to be a designer, whilst opening up a space for our students to push the boundaries of our discipline. By focussing on the speculative and fictional, design is no longer constrained by the practical reality of todays material and economic restrictions. The part of our curriculum that concentrates on the fictional, pulls important parts of design practice into focus; narrative construction, user interactions, representations of affect, communication and contextualisation. We train designers to become fluent in the operational mechanics of their practice."

(Matt Ward, 17 July 2013)

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TAGS

acting out • Archigram • behavioural trajectories for action • design artefactsdesign curriculumdesign educationdesign fictiondesign futuresdesign proposalsdesign speculationdiegetic • diegetic prototype • discarded designs • engaging stories • experimental design • fiction and speculation • fictional futures • fictionalisationimaginationimaginative storiesimagined possibilitiesimagining • Madeleine Akrich • manifestonew forms of interactionproposalspushes boundariesspeculative designspeculative proposalsSuperstudio • transformative potential • unread • user interactions • vapourware

CONTRIBUTOR

Liam Birtles
26 MARCH 2013

The use of inspirational works by designers to create new ideas

"Designers immerse themselves in environments rich in inspiration: collecting examples, amassing libraries, pinning notes and images around their workspaces, and so on. There is a broad recognition that much of the design proceeds by modification of previous ideas (e.g., Oxman, 1990) and that experts amass collections of examples and precedents to employ in design (e.g., Lawson, 2004). Indeed there are attempts to introduce students to relevant design precedents (e.g., Heylighen and Verstijnen, 2003). However, much of the previous research has tended to focus on reference, recall, and reasoning, and to neglect the vital role of explicit external sources of inspiration in triggering and guiding designers' activities. It appears that many attempts at computer support and most research starts with conceptual design; this paper reports on research which attempts to investigate the even earlier gathering of sources of inspiration and exploration of ideas and hence to understand the mechanisms by which inspiration is harnessed (see also Eckert and Stacey, 2000)."

(Marian Petrea, Helen Sharpa and Jeffrey Johnson, 2006, Design Studies)

Marian Petrea, Helen Sharpa and Jeffrey Johnson (2005). "Complexity through combination: an account of knitwear design", Volume 27, Issue 2, March 2006, Pages 183–222

TAGS

2005 • amassing • Ann Heylighen • Bryan Lawson • Claudia Eckertclippingcollecting • collecting examples • collecting ideas • collection of ideascollectionsconceptual archivecool stuffdesign artefacts • design environments • design inspiration • design precedents • Design Studies (journal) • explicit external sources • favourite things • gathering • gathering sources • get inspiration • Ilse Verstijnena • inspirationinspirational visual content • inspirational working environments • inspirational works • inspiring creative workplaces • Keith Billings • knitwear • knitwear designMartin Staceymaterial culture • mental imagery • modification of previous ideas • new ideaspersonal collections • personal curation • personal libraries • pinning • pinning images • pinning notes • precedents • reference collections • reference resources • reference works • Rivka Oxman • Samer Akkach • semi-structured interviewsources of inspiration • spatial reasoning • triggering ideasvisual ideasvisual research

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
28 MAY 2011

Multiple media has led to a non-media-specificity in practice

"Graphic design as a discrete discipline has changed greatly during its lifetime and continues to change. It changes with the society it practices within, with technology and with its own internal growth as a practice. These changes to practice have included the move into new media as they have arisen or developed with technology; print, motion, interactive, and environmental. This move into multiple media and areas of discourse has challenged the discipline, asking designers to adapt to numerous new areas and yet continue to maintain standards of education and professional practice. Along with these challenges, which appeared largely due to the advent of affordable digital capabilities in the late twentieth century, new opportunities for growth and development in the practice have become possible.

The movement into multiple media has led to a non–media–specificity in practice. Graphic designers no longer work just in print, or even just visually. Dimensions of time, interactivity, space and sound have entered the discipline. Beyond the release from media specificity this has led to a separation from media. No longer the focus of the practice, the design artefacts, and the media that support them, have become the vehicle through which the work of the discipline is materialised. This has allowed the practice to become aware of itself in a completely different way, bringing into mindfulness its broader role and the broader concerns of that role. In an era of ubiquitous access to the means of production, the discipline has been forced to ask itself what it offers beyond the production of the designed artefact. This, along with a maturation of the self image, has led to the sense that the term 'graphic' might no longer have a broad enough scope to describe the practice."

(Neal Haslem, p.22)

2). Haslem, N. (2009). "Communication design: towards a 'socially–situated' practice." Visual:Design:Scholarship Research Journal of the Australian Graphic Design Association 4(1): 20–28.

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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