What is Design?
Read the following article about design. Write a blog post responding to the article.
DESIGN IS A NOUN
Unless you live in the wilderness, you are a resident of a human-made environment. Everywhere you look, you can find something that is designed. From the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep, you are sure to encounter design in your everyday life. We are surrounded by design, whether it be objects, spaces, landscapes and streetscapes, or communications or transportation systems.
Design is not an instantaneous act or event. Sidewalks and streets do not fall from the sky and land in their proper places. Our toothbrushes do not magically appear in our hands when we need them. Someone is responsible for all the things we consume, use, and interact with everyday. Every moment, we encounter a set of solutions to a problem that has been considered by someone.
In your sketchbook write “Design is” at the top. Next, look around the classroom and make note of all the different examples of design that they see. Write each one of these examples down. These could be desks, chairs, books, posters, and clothing, for example.
Books are an example of graphic design, while computers and pencils are considered industrial design. You could broaden this exploration to the design of the classroom, which is interior design, or the school building itself, which is architecture.
DESIGN IS A VERB
“Design” does not only refer to places and things; it is also the process of planning, evaluating, and implementing a plan or solution to a problem. Designers often start with a problem: For example, a school that needs sturdy, affordable chairs for students. The first step in the design process is a brainstorm of possible solutions. This brainstorm could take the form of words, sketches, or even photographs that articulate the designer’s ideas. Once the ideas have been expressed, the designer chooses the best solution for the problem at hand, then consults an engineer, who helps produce a sample. That sample is evaluated, sometimes through user testing, to ensure that the design solution is functionally and aesthetically viable.
• Is there value in testing an idea. Have they ever experimented with a new way of doing something?
Designers navigate between the aesthetics and functionality of an object through each and every stage of the process from concept to final product. According to designer and artist Ray Eames, “The looks good can change, but what works, works.” [Ray Eames, quoted in “The Work of Charles and Ray Eames: Furniture” (Library of Congress/Vitra Design Museum),http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/eames/furniture.html.]
• Have you ever applied this kind of process in your life? Think of an object you consider to be an example of good design and describe it's form and function. Does the object you selected meets your needs in terms of form and function.
As consumers of everyday objects, we play an important role in the design process. Although they don’t know each and every one of us personally, designers often look to consumers to evaluate and respond to the things they create, proving their functionality. If consumers are not satisfied with the way something works, they probably won’t want to use it, and designers are keenly aware of this fact. From deciding on a new shape or color for a cell phone to how wide to make the seats on the subway, design firms rely heavily on market research and consumer input, conducting extensive research.
Each design problem or situation has a unique set of criteria that must be addressed. Identifying needs or problems, brainstorming possible solutions, testing ideas, and evaluating them are all part of the design process. In some cases an existing idea is refined and in other cases a totally new concept is created, but the processes are similar. With every year that passes, technologies of rendering and manufacturing change. Designers need to be aware of these new and emerging technologies and of how they could affect the design and production of five, five hundred, or five hundred thousand objects.
OUTLINE OF THE DESIGN PROCESS
Gathering information and research
Evaluating and selecting appropriate solutions
Evaluation Integration of feedback
www.moma.org/collection, for more examples of design.
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