It is getting interesting. The original thread that Terry started
could have lead us to discuss our differences. Instead, we started
discussing the nature of design problems an demonstrated our differences.
I have no problem with the notion of problem. Usually, "engineering"
designers are pretty much at ease with it and actually love it. On
the other side are the artists, they hate it. Actually they do
problematization, but in a different way. Fill explained it
beautifully. Artists are in a different situation compared to
engineers and can afford a broad and soft approach. Compared to the
Arts, Engineering is already in an advanced stage of explicating its
own methodology. (I will reconsider this if you object.) There is a
tendency to explicate the process and the method in every profession.
Luckily for the humankind, the Arts resist this tendency and continue
to operate with the broad net. However, if we go back in history and
compare, we might see that compared to previous epochs, nowadays even
artists start explicating their process and method and becoming more
reflective over the steps in the process.
I can understand Teena if she is a book illustrator. Very often
defining the problem might lead to a poor illustration. The reason is
that the problem might not be defined properly or adequately at that
time, or the artist simply cannot go step-by-stem from the problem to
the solution. There are other ways to sniff and fetch. I teach my
students how to conceptualize and start with a design concept.
However, after the first half of the project time passes away without
a good design, I encourage students to change the strategy -- just
find an exiting precedent and make something innovative. The
precedent carries in its genotype the problem and the solution. That
is the logic of the precedent approach.
I personally work on the phase of problem definition in design and
love my business. It makes the process and the outcome more
predictable. In the design areas where the functional requirements
are paramount, starting with an initial definition of the problem
helps a lot, saves time and effort, and in the long run, brings
better functional performance.
We are all designers, but we are also very different designers. I
mean our substantive areas are different. Each substantive area has
its own peculiarities in ontological and methodological aspect.
(Forgive me for using these concepts here.) That makes the design
process and method of a civil engineer very different form the
process and method of the architect, and I bet, very different from
the process of an illustrator.
Our common ground cannot be found at practice level. It cannot be
found even at theoretical level. Our common ground is at
philosophical level. If we want to talk one language, we need to
discuss these issues at a very abstract level. We can say that there
are general principles of design that apply to all design fields. But
these general principles are so abstract that they never appear in
their scholastic format in design practice and even at the
theoretical levels of different design disciplines. These principles
crystallize in their full beauty only when we talk at philosophical
level about the planning and design approach (Gerals Nadler, 1981).
To be honest, at the beginning I was curious what is Terry doing when
he asked that question about our disciplinary design affiliations.
Now I might be interested more than him. Knowing each other
background, it will be easier to figure out what the other colleague
thinks and says, why that colleague thinks that way, and why he or
she objects a particular concept.
Lubomir Popov, Ph.D.
School of Family and Consumer Sciences
309 Johnston Hall
Bowling Green, OH 43403-0059
phone: (419) 372-7935