Monday, February 20, 2012

Design as process, not product

Here's an accessible, high-level synopsis on the role of design. Benjamin Winter addresses the challenge designers face in explaining what design can do and how it's much more than material outcomes. Take a look at Shareable for the full article.

"Design is often characterized by its products rather than its processes. Tell someone you’re a designer, and the first question they’re likely to ask is: 'What kind? A graphic designer? A fashion designer? Maybe an architect?' But the artifacts produced by these specialists are not what define design. Design is about problem-solving and opportunity-seeking, not predefined material outcomes. It’s about seeing problems as opportunities for innovation rather than obstacles to progress, and simply creating more products isn’t the solution to all problems.

Design is capable of much more. In addition to products, communications, and environments, designers today are creating whole new services, systems, and experiences. The field is expanding: taking on new challenges, bridging new disciplines, and inviting new practitioners. As a sharer, you might be a designer yourself. By developing new collaborative consumption strategies and cooperative business models, you are practicing design, whether you know it or not. The goal-oriented creativity that goes into these projects can be largely intuitive, so it often goes unrecognized or simply uncharacterized as design. However, with some simple design strategies, you can be more deliberate about what you do intuitively and better direct your creativity to meet your goals.

Whether you’re planning a small charrette or a larger project, there are some basic elements, common to most design processes, that you may want to incorporate. By no means do these elements constitute the definitive design process. Like all design processes, the one below is a variation, an adaptation, a hybrid methodology. It’s also not as linear as it might seem in writing. One should expect to cycle through and repeat some stages of the process as new insights and information emerge. Use what works for you, experiment, and integrate your own techniques. Your process is yours to design. Hopefully, the following suggestions will simply provide some guidance through the challenging work of creating something new."

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