Thanks for your insights and thoughts. We are possibly on the same side. I
thought it was clear the email was about aesthetic design and subjective
feeling-based design rather than rational functionalist design. Obviously
All the best,
From: Charles Burnette [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, 28 January 2009 3:42 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Cc: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Pragmatist aesthetics in communication design
On Jan 27, 2009, at 9:16 AM, Terence Love wrote:
> Its easily possible to 'creatively' generate designs without yet being
> aware of the structures within which those designs lie. Is this a
> benefit of 'magic' creativity, or a lack of understanding and
> awareness by the designer of the structure of the solution space?
Hi Terry, Thoughts?
Creativity is not "magic" but it is seldom achieved through entirely
rational means. A vision of what might be possible and appropriate to a
situation of use is inherently synthetic. Designers are not likely to
understand the scope of any solution space although they are aware of a
solution when they reach one. The "structure of a solution space"
seems to be a construct of purely rational thought that is no longer very
Design thinking is both intuitive and rational with different emphasis for
different applications. Where functional risks are high as in many
engineering design projects, human factors and other research can suggest
rules (rational emphasis) by which risk of operational failure in a design
can be reduced. The structure of the solution space is constrained in such
cases, often at the expense of users. A cockpit in a fighter plane comes to
mind - real estate there is limited and the design is focused on controlling
events. A designer who is empathetic with potential users (intuitive
emphasis) will seek to interpret "structural" constraints in ways that
induce understanding, ease of use and even delight. In objects like the
iphone a host of functional constraints are met inside even as they are
manifested externally through visual and tactile structures that promote
understanding, ease of use and delight. I imagine that the designers at
Apple let intuition lead them to their structural rules, testing them on one
another all the way. A guiding vision which Steve Jobs evolved through
personal preferences and experience doubtless helped.
While conscious thought is sequential unconscious cognition involves
parallel processing. The interaction of the two to create a new situated
vision is not yet understood.