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PHD-DESIGN  August 2009

PHD-DESIGN August 2009

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Subject:

Re: Connecting research to practice/was Who Designs?

From:

"Swanson, Gunnar" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Swanson, Gunnar

Date:

Tue, 18 Aug 2009 21:12:19 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (96 lines)

> embed the products of
> design research in the computer systems that designers use
[snip]
> It's just that the benefits of the new
> design knowledge and the improvement in the skill that  produce
> the improved design output

Terry--Can you give some examples of graphic design research that is embedded in graphic design software but is unknown to graphic designers and graphic design educators?

Gunnar
----------
Gunnar Swanson Design Office
1901 East 6th Street
Greenville, North Carolina 27858

[log in to unmask]
+1 252 258 7006

at East Carolina University:
+1 252 328 2839 
[log in to unmask]

________________________________________
From: PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Terence Love [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 9:03 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Connecting research to practice/was Who Designs?

Hi Jacques,

I can understand your angst.

It seems people look for the benefits of design research in the wrong place.

To date, it has been enormously more successful to embed the products of
design research in the computer systems that designers use than to try to
teach designers new advances in design knowledge.

That way, design research outcomes have radically and beneficially
transformed design practices without the effort of having to try to teach
the new design theory developments and knowledge to either design educators
or design practitioners.

This has led na´ve design professionals to think that there have been no
useful advances through design research for practice.

The reality is that design professionals now produce  around 800% more work
per day and of much higher quality. It's just that the benefits of the new
design knowledge and the improvement in the skill that  produce the improved
design output faster reside primarily in the software rather than designers'
personal design skills. This change has happened across all design fields.
It is most noticeable in Graphic Design, Product Design, Engineering Design
and Software Design.

Some of this is a consequence of research funding. It is far more sensible
to fund research that improves design outcomes  automatically for all
designers than to fund research that will improve design skills of
individual designers provided you persuade/teach them one by one.

The evidence seems to suggest that in most areas of design, computerized
automation beats craft apprenticeship/studio teaching hands down.

It would be interesting to, very specifically and with strong evidence-based
justification,  identify those areas of design practice that the above is
not true and develop design research in those areas. I'm envisaging
something way on the other side of 'Design as Rhetoric'/'Design as a
systematic process'/'Design as a collaborative social process'.

If this is possible, it would provide a basis for identifying completely new
pathways in design education that are beyond being design software jockeys
(though my feeling is that being a good design software jockey is a sound
profession) and would help identify which areas of design education to dump
from out of design education courses (rhetoric?).

Many engineering design courses have faced this problem over the last twenty
years in that there is now much less need for mathematical understanding in
engineering than was previously necessary (those dratted successful  design
researchers again!). It has enabled a rethinking of what it means to be a
professional engineering designer/manager and a radical reworking of
engineering education.

Best wishes,
Terry

===

Jacques wrote:
I regularly need to transfer the
theoretical and philosophical debates of my colleagues, no matter how valid
they are, into a position that is more pragmatic and somehow connected to
the realities of contemporary professional design practice.

This conundrum, that is, the apparent disconnect between design research and
its applicability to design practice, has been a recurring theme on this
list.

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