yes, you are right.
knowing design is not ABOUT things artificial, which can be read about in
consumer magazines, repair manuals, histories of artifacts, and production
drawings -- although unfamiliarity with the artificial world would be
knowing design does not reside in the act of reflecting on design --
although again, someone who cannot reflect on what she is doing can hardly
be a good designer.
knowing design does not reside in the things designed. it is an
epistemological mistake to presume that forms, things and their functions
are independent of a human observer/designer.
knowing design informs the practice of designers (not of historians, nor of
design studies people, nor of re-searchers). it is an embodied kind of
knowing, one that is manifest in the doing of design, the working out of
problems, the arguing for solutions, the sensing and being in touch with the
predispositions of people that might be affected by one's design practices.
it requires a sense of the direction in which material culture is moving and
how others contribute or distract from that direction. knowing design
brings the genesis of artifacts in interaction with the social, the
cultural, and the discursive. attempts to formalize the practice of
designers -- methodologies, research paradigms, search algorithms -- can
make practices of design transferable to other designers (in teaching, for
example), even to machines. this undoubtedly can aid design but it is not
the same as knowing design.
From: Rosan Chow [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, October 04, 2000 1:12 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Design Knowledge (2)
I was fathoming the recent exciting discussion of design knowledge,
attentively when the phone rang. It was my dear mom calling (long distance)
immediately I had to switch to a different language literally and
She talked about a friend's wedding on saturday, my nephew, her shopping
and other common daily activities in fine details for about an hour. It is
always fun to
talk to mom regardless the content of the conversation. We hang up, I
switched back to
my thoughts on design when it occurred to me that mom seemed very happy even
knows nothing of design, and why am I so troubled by it?
In a way, my mom took me out of my little ivory tower back to the streets
people live their lives and where the impact of design is felt the most.
This connection to the streets shouldn't be broken, I think, for any
approaches one takes to think about design, study design and to design if
one wants the
work to make a difference to people, like my mom.
Design knowledge, (or design knowing as suggested to me by someone), is like
embryo growing and changing by the minute as it is fed by the work that
'MAKE', in research/practice.
I risk having an another verbal accident but I would like to suggest that
reflecting on and knowing ABOUT design is a must; in order for design
know(......) to be
distinctive from but complementary to other types of know(.......),
designers have to be
in action for this know(......) resides in the act of designing and what it
is is what it can
Just my naive and vague thoughts that I hope will be critiqued by you.
(p.s. I would like to extend my gratitutes to all of you who have
contributed to the
discussion on which my thoughts take shape.)
College of Design
North Carolina State University