online: 25 february 2006
modified: 22, 24, 25 february 2006

22 february 2006 design methods in 250 words

after reading the Wikipedia entry* on design methods

The way in which artificial things are given form. Also changing this so as to take account of the effects upon customers, users and all who enjoy the benefits, or suffer the ill-effects, of industrial living.

Each person who takes part in designing should be able to combine intuition with rationality. And each should be aware of, and able to influence, the collective design process. Without these ingredients excellence is unlikely.

The term 'design methods' began as the name of a conference of designers and others in 1962. Since then the academic study of design processes has grown enormously but the effects upon the quality of industrial living have not been great. Design processes have expanded so that more people can influence them, and take part, but so far this has been within the limitations of specialist knowledge and the skills of existing design professions.

Traffic congestion, air pollution, world poverty and a host of such unsolved problems are greater, not less, than they were before. The population has grown greatly but the quality of industrial living is worse for many people.

To remedy all this, the way artificial things take form may have to become a public responsibility in an expanded design process ('creative democracy') that is sensitive to the thoughts and the experiences of everyone and is under the imaginative control of each one of us. Difficult as this may seem, there is much in the literature on design methods that can help to make it possible.

*Adam Kallish invited me to contribute to his description of design methods in the Wikipedia. As what he and others wrote is quite largely about my work and opinion i thought it best not to respond in the Wikipedia itself but to write here what i now think about the subject. As the Wikipedia article is long i limited myself to 250 words exactly - with the above result in which some of the essentials of design processes, and the need to expand them, are briefly stated.

I am surprised that what i wrote is more political than technical. I would like to see how others might describe design methods in no more than 250 words - the results might be informative, and perhaps controversial?

The rules for writing in the Wikipedia include the statement that

Articles may not contain any unpublished theories, data, statements, concepts, arguments, or ideas; or any new analysis or synthesis of published data, statements, concepts, arguments, or ideas.

Clearly my 250 words include unverified (and perhaps unverifyable) statements. I believe that designing, as a comprehensive collective art, needs both imaginative and scientific skills but cannot be described or determined scientifically without diminishing its imaginative character.

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