Design and design dogmas : an exploration and thought experiment

Hesseling, S.A.W. (2016) Design and design dogmas : an exploration and thought experiment.

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Abstract:In the multi-interpreted concept of ‘design’, there exist ostensible ‘rules-of-thumb’, that guide present-day designers. Industrial designers have traditionally bridged the gap between industry and consumers, which is an interaction that dominates the world’s economic, capitalist system. Since this system, on which our ‘First World culture’ is based, has severe consequences on the earth and its inhabitants, it is important to understand how these rules were shaped and how they influence designers. This essay is an attempt to understand the origin of these rules, and presents alternative ways of thinking. This is achieved by critically questioning ‘design’, according to the following structure: ‘Why do we design?’ (Part I), ‘What is design?’ (Part II), ‘How do we design?’ (Part III), ‘How should we design?’ (Part IV). Through these parts, socio-cultural, economic, technological and natural perspectives are interweaved. Part I, ‘Why do we design?’, starts by addressing ‘A Short History on Mass Design Culture and Production’, which elaborates on the emergence of the ‘designer for industry’, who has its roots anchored in the ‘Era of Modernity’. After the industrial revolution, people attempted to validate and create profit from invented production techniques, by selling the industry’s products to the ‘ordinary citizen’. The second subject, ‘Industrialisation, Progress and Capitalism’ demonstrates the way our capitalist system, in which industry is embedded, has evolved. Perceptions on ‘money’, ‘property’ and ‘freedom’ are discussed, that have led to a modern economic system that requires and produces rational models. These models make our world predictable and adaptable to multinational enterprises, who use ‘globalisation’ to expand more and more, in order to achieve ‘progress’ and compete with other multinationals. This is steered by marketing and branding. Part II, ‘What is design?’, proposes a definition of the ‘Core of Design’, by evaluating ‘qualities’ and ‘traps’ of technology and art – a combination of the initial sources of design. The ‘qualities’ and ‘traps’ of technology include its instrumentality and the way that covers up technology’s origin. For art, the ‘qualities’ and ‘traps’ include its easy value judgements that cover up the art creation process. Subsequently, a definition of the ‘Core of Design’ is suggested, and two views on design are advocated, in which ‘common’ design is based on the ‘traps’, and ‘core’ design includes the ‘qualities’ as well. Part III, ‘How do we design?’, endeavours to show how we practise design today. Firstly, in ‘The Peels Around the Core of Design’ it is explained how superficial differentiations within design lead to consumerism, which conceals what design could be really about. The ‘Intermezzo – the Consequences of Capitalism on Nature’ shows the harsh effects that natural resource extraction and use have. Part IV, ‘How should we design?’, summarises and tackles ‘design dogmas’ in ‘Dismantling Design Dogmas’, by reflecting on the socio-cultural, economic, technological and natural perspectives. In ‘Recommendations for Higher Design Education’ the way Industrial Design Education (IDE) is based on ‘design dogmas’ is discussed. It is proposed that by involving more critical and reflective thinking on fixed design methods, and by including a broader design context, IDE could be enriched and resonate the demands of the real world. Finally, a ‘Dogma Overview and Alternative Approaches’ is presented, which outlines the way ‘design dogmas’ have been derived from general dogmas. In addition, it includes alternative approaches towards design dogmas.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:20 art studies
Programme:Industrial Design BSc (56955)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/69518
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