Design Methods

101 Design Methods

However, this false argument was viewed by John Chris Jones, who recognized the "logical, systematic, behavioristic, operational aspects of new methods" which could be viewed as science might be seen as "anti-life" which treat people as "instruments. Jones sought to bring both together and act as checks-and-balances for design methods. Jones viewed methodology as "mere symbolic contrivances" and "would lose its value" if it did not reflect "the personal issues which matter most to the people who will take decisions.

Conversations about design methods and a more systematic approach to design was not isolated to Europe.

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America was also a magnet for practicing design professionals to codify their successes in design practice and backing into larger theories about the dynamics of design methods. American designers were much more pragmatic at articulating design methods and creating an underlying language about the practice of industrial and graphic design.

They were tied to economic systems that supported design practice and therefore focused on the way design could be managed as an extension of business, rather than the European approach to design methods based on transforming engineering by design. Industrial design was the first area that made inroads into systematizing knowledge through practice.

Raymond Loewy was instrumental at elevating the visibility of industrial design through cult of personality appearing three times on front cover of Time Magazine. Henry Dreyfuss had a profound impact on the practice of industrial design by developing a systematic process used to shape environments, transportation , products and packaging.

His focus on the needs of the average consumer was most celebrated in his book Designing for People , an extensive exploration of ergonomics. In seven pages, Doblin presents a straightforward and persuasive argument for design as a systematic process. He described the emerging landscape of systematic design:. Doblin and others were responding to the increased specialization of design and the complexity of managing large design programs for corporations.

It was a natural process to begin to discuss how design should move upstream to be involved with the specifications of problems, not only in the traditional mode of production which design had been practiced. Particularly since , design methods and its intersection with business development have been visibly championed by numerous consultancies within design industry. The continuity of approaches to design projects by such representative firms is the generation of inputs incited by the human condition in varied contexts.

These approaches utilize a sustainable methods-based mode of making that takes into account critical analytic and synthetic skills toward more informed and inspired specifications grounded in:. Practitioners approached design methods from a different angle than John Christopher Jones and the group of engineers and designers who convened in Many practitioners, through actual design opportunities, began to confront the complexities of the market and clients. They began to address issues of specifications, users , distribution and innovation.

Since there were no established methods, each practitioner began to develop frameworks and languages to describe a new way to design. Like any market-based model, there were many competing ideas about these new methods and their basis. Many of these designers may have been aware of the design methods movement, but many were not. Yet all their ideas were aligned to many of the basic tenets of the conference which advocated a more rigorous way of doing design.

However, the social perspectives and criticisms of mediocre products of participants may not have been shared or agreed with. While this relationship has been identified, it has not been universally recognized or accepted by diverse design communities. Designers have strong connection not only to clients but also to end users who consume products and services.

Design as a function within corporations , or as independent consultancies, have not always collaborated well with business. Clients and the market have traditionally viewed design as an expressive and production function, rather than as a strategic asset. Designers have focused their skills and knowledge in creating designed artifacts, and indirectly addressed larger issues within this creative process. They have been uneasy about articulating their value to business in terms that business executives could understand.

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There were moves to bridge this gap. In England , the British Design Council now called the Design Council was founded in by the British wartime government as the Council of Industrial Design with the objective "to promote by all practicable means the improvement of design in the products of British industry". The Design Management Institute is an international nonprofit organization that seeks to heighten awareness of design as an essential part of business strategy. Founded in , DMI has become the leading resource and international authority on design management.

Some designers and design historians have challenged, even rejected, the idea that design supports the goals and objectives of the economic systems they find themselves in.

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Victor Papanek — was a trail blazer in the definition of sustainable design and addressing social issues through design. His book Design for the Real World in the late s articulated a world for design to use less resources and address local social issues for ecologically sound design to serve the poor, the disabled and the elderly.

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Design methods is a broad area that focuses on: Divergence – Exploring possibilities and constraints of inherited situations by applying critical thinking through. Unlike other books on the subject, Design Methods approaches the practice of creating new products, services, and customer experiences as a science.

The disciplines of sustainable design and universal design are echoed here. Professor of design history at the University of Illinois at Chicago Victor Margolin addressed the inherent role of design communities supporting an economic system, which he called the "expansion model", where "the world consists of markets in which products function first and foremost as tokens of economic exchange. They attract capital which is either recycled back into more production or becomes part of the accumulation of private or corporate wealth.

If the elements of this system are damaged or thrown out of balance or if essential resources are depleted, the system will suffer severe damage and will possibly collapse. Design methods initially was focused on how design could be integrated into engineering and grew to recognize the multidisciplinary nature of solving contemporary complexity in all its forms.

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John Chris Jones recognized the role of business, as one stakeholder among many, but did not view design methods as a business management tool. Design management focuses on how to define design as a business function and provides a language and method of how to effectively manage it. Internet businesses realized early that technologists alone were not going to create "killer apps" that would win customers. Together they had to rapidly accelerate time-to-value and learn how to do things that had little precedent.

This context was an amplification of Donald Schon's theories of unstable knowledge bases developing new ideas by a phenomenological approach of direct application and experience. Other professionals were incorporated from cognitive science , ethnography , and library science to name a few.

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User-centric approaches were developed resulting in the creation of whole workflow systems to accommodate diversity in skills and tools. These diverse groups brought markedly different languages and models native to their disciplines which posed significant integration-challenges, including hours, in determining how to work together. Clement Mok , founder of Studio Archetype acquired by Sapient , recognized this trend and began to articulate the new professional design situation being agitated by new information technologies marked by the Internet and advancements in computing media.

He described a multi-media landscape that was converging into an integrated digital space.

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Adjacent to this was the redefinition of skills and roles that would create, build, sustain, and innovate this dynamic environment. In his book, Designing Business , [11] Mok emphasized redefinition of design practice dramatically affected by technological change: John Chris Jones and many original participants knew that computer technology would transform and automate human actions.

They were 30 years ahead of the expansion of the Internet and explained the basic premise of its value by stating:. The focus of most post enhancements to design methods has been on developing a series of relevant, sound, humanistic problem-solving procedures and techniques to reduce avoidable errors and oversights that can adversely affect design solutions.

The key benefit is to find a method that suits a particular design situation.

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The benefits of their original work has been abstracted many times over; but in today's design environment, several of their main ideas have been integrated into contemporary design methods:. A large challenge for design as a discipline, its use of methods and an endeavor to create shared values, is its inherent synthetic nature as an area of study and action. This allows design to be extremely malleable in nature, borrowing ideas and concepts from a wide variety of professions to suit the ends of individual practitioners.

It also makes design vulnerable since these very activities make design a discipline unextensible as a shared body of knowledge. Practitioners were able to describe how they 'think on their feet', and how they make use of a standard set of frameworks and techniques. Schon foresaw the increasing instability of traditional knowledge and how to achieve it.

This is in line with the original founders of design methods who wanted to break with an unimaginative and static technical society and unify exploration , collaboration and intuition. Design methods has influenced design practice and design education. It has benefited the design community by helping to create introductions that would never have happened if traditional professions remained stable , which did not necessarily allow collaboration due to gate keeping of areas of knowledge and expertise.

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Design has been by nature an interloper activity, with individuals that have crossed disciplines to question and innovate. The challenge is to transform individual experiences , frameworks and perspectives into a shared, understandable, and, most importantly, a transmittable area of knowledge. Victor Margolin [ citation needed ] states three reasons why this will prove difficult:. My Methods is a place to bookmark and go back to your favorite or most frequently referenced Methods.

Experts can get you up to speed quickly on a topic, giving you key insights into relevant history, context, and innovations. Properly framing your design challenge is critical to your success. Spur deeper and different kinds of conversations by picking up pen and paper and drawing. These tools will make sure that your interviews really count.

To get a fresh perspective on your research, shift your focus to a new context. Conversation Starters put a bunch of ideas in front of users to spark their reactions. The right body language, eye contact, and facial expressions can help you learn more and engage deeply. An interdisciplinary mix of thinkers, makers, and doers is just the right combination to tackle any design challenge. Designing a solution that will work for everyone means talking to both extreme users and those squarely in the middle of your target audience.

Consider the broad spectrum of people who will be touched by your design solution. What would the Harvard of agricultural extension services look like? Mash-up two existing brands or concepts to explore new ideas. As you share your learnings, hidden patterns are likely to emerge. This handy worksheet can help you think through some key aspects of a social enterprise, service, or business. A quick and tangible way to test an idea or experience is to get into character and act it out. In the Inspiration Phase you gathered tons of information. Incorporating drawing, sculpting, and building into the Ideation process can unlock all kinds of innovative solutions.

A huge part of human-centered design is following your nose. A Framework is a visual representation of a system, and a great way to make sense of data.

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