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  • Design knowledge - what is this?

    Arts & Culture

    In response to A lack of design knowledge, posted by David Carlson,
    in the thread A lack of design knowledge


    »There is a huge lack of knowledge among Swedish companies (mostly small and mid-size). And it is not because of the lack of clever and talented designers in Sweden...«, as David Carlson writes.

    Hidden qualities of designers

    I think a huge problem in this is the reputation that designers have. It is obvious that mostly designers are seen as the ones that have visual or styling competence. Of course this are the most important skills - but this is not all. Layouts can be done by an illustrator, products can be designed by craftsmen.

    So for me, the hidden quality of the designer is the understanding of processes and strategies in design - or in the words of the starter of this post, David Carlson: »how to write a creative design brief«. I agree with him in this regard.

    Reduced to a be stylist?

    So is there really a »backlash«? Gui Bonsiepe would surely agree. In a lecture called Design & Democracy he held when he was granted of a honorary doctor at the Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana in Santiago de Chile in June 2005, he criticized that design more and more »moved away from the idea of »intelligent problem solving« (James Dyson) and drew nearer to the ephemeral, fashionable and quickly obsolete, to formal-aesthetic play, to the boutiquization of the universe of products of everyday life.«

    Gui Bonsiepe is a scholar of Tomás Maldonado, who was teaching at the Ulm School of Design. And we know, at that school there was a lot of research connecting design with various disciplines as e. g. sociology and psychology. Or in the words of Maldonado »The HfG is not just a school where you are educated in a special subject; the HfG is more like a community whose members share the same intentions: bestowing structure and stability upon the world around us.«

    Trans-, Multi- and Interdisciplinarity

    The designer is a person who works non-disciplinary. He traverses different fields - whether they are of creative or theoretic nature. I think this is one of the qualities a designer has to have. And I'm wondering if this is getting lost in design education - for the sake of quickly educating photoshop or 3D freaks that you can enchain to the computer and tell them what to do.

    I enjoyed the generalistic design studies at KISD. Meanwhile, as studying in Germany is not free of charge anymore, I can see that students start studying design who do not have any prior experience in other fields. Interdisciplinarity that is so essential to a designer's knowledge is suffering within this development.

    Because designing means more than just knowing how to handle specific software... .

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