My request to Martin about how he makes theoretical deductions about what
design is, is a theoretical question. Not an ad hominem attack.
And, in a side project, I'm currently designing book diagrams and book
covers for print and online delivery. C'mon, I know at least a little bit
about working in this field. But that isn't the issue, the question I asked
Martin was about theory and conceptualisation
You refer to all the relevant negotiations and things to be taken into
account in production. Are these 'designing'? It appeared to me Martin
would not think so - hence my question. Martin's earlier reply seemed to
indicate his understanding of design was subjective (and hence the maths
approaches I was suggesting were irrelevant). If Martin wants to include all
the other information and operational issues as you describe, then the maths
approaches likely become relevant. I didn't ask Martin how he *worked*. I
asked him on what assumptions he based his 'understanding' of design - a
question of theory and conceptualisation. Again, hence my question.
The matter of questions is clearly vexed in all directions. I suggest most
of this is due to entrenched views leading to blinkered interpretation of
the posts and questions - for all of us.
Berger, however, did not ask a question about theory, he asked for a body
of evidence, I've already pointed to books and papers that contain examples
of maths approaches that appear to apply. To create a body of evidence will
require creating a body of case analysis of different projects analysing
exactly when and how particular mathematical methods were used, or could
have been used and whether this improved the design outputs and outcomes.
That is a substantial undertaking. Berger's post was of the order of 'Prove
everything beyond reasonable doubt in every bit of detail, and only then
should people start thinking about what is proposed. Your position seems to
Ken, I'm not trying to prove what I say is true absolute and fixed in stone.
My own thinking moves on continually and I critique and doubt my own
conclusions. I make suggestions as to how I see the lay of the land for the
future. It's up to anyone to use or not, to engage in discussion about them
or not, take what is offered or not.
If the suggestions seem interesting, then it's the role of the reader to do
the work to explore the ideas, rather than asking me to create teaching
material to do it for them!
These are issues of professional process, rather than debate.
Best regards ,
Dr Terence Love
PhD(UWA), BA(Hons) Engin. PGCEd, FDRS, AMIMechE, PMACM, MISI
IEED, Management School
Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK
Love Services Pty Ltd
PO Box 226, Quinns Rocks
Western Australia 6030
Tel: +61 (0)4 3497 5848
Fax:+61 (0)8 9305 7629
[log in to unmask]
From: [log in to unmask]
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ken Friedman
Sent: Saturday, 10 May 2014 9:26 AM
To: PHD-DESIGN PHD-DESIGN
Subject: Styles of Debate
While I am no longer active in the thread on mathematics in design, I want
to point to a more general problem in these threads. In thread after thread,
you begin with blunt assertions that you treat as self-evident propositions.
When asked to explain, you plead the lack of time. You always find the time
for new propositions and new assertions, but you seem never to have the time
to demonstrate the value of your earlier assertions or to answer questions.
At a certain point in many of these debates, you switch from discussing the
issues to evaluating those who disagree with you. You switch from a debate
on the topic to an ad hominem attempt to discredit the people.
In your reply to Martin Salisbury, you wrote: “I’d suspect that you believe
that you can understand and know what designing is by reflecting on your
thoughts and feelings while doing design? And, that you can understand what
others are doing while designing by the same method?”
This suggests to me that you have no direct knowledge of Martin’s field,
children’s book illustration, or the fields with which a book illustrator
must be familiar.
You “suspect” that Martin understands the design process through an entirely
internalized world of reflection and feeling. Having illustrated books and
managed a publishing firm, I’d say this cannot be the case.
A successful book illustrator must first work with the publisher and author
of the book to understand the desired outcome for the project. Different
kinds of conversations come into play depending on whether the illustrator
is also the author or also the designer. In some cases, authors and
illustrators will also take into consideration such pedagogical and
psychological issues as target audience, age group, reading level, or
gender. Depending on the publisher’s needs, budget, and market, this may
involve consultation with experts in other fields. Then a wide range of
issues come in regard publishing specs, material choices, design choices,
market needs, price point, and the rest. All of these choices require a high
level of expertise and serious involvement in a vast range of empirical data
outside and beyond the illustrator’s own world of reflection and feeling.
Then, too, there is the matter of serious engagement with the content and
narrative. This requires sensitivity and creativity applied to narrative,
story line, story arc, and understanding what each of these means in the
final book. With respect to older stories or historical accounts, this also
requires sensitivity to and awareness of history and the exegetical
questions of original context against the current context of today’s reader.
There is a way to move beyond what you “suspect” about Martin to learn how
Martin actually works, or at least how he believes he works in contrast to
what you "suspect" he believes. You can ask him. And you can ask him in a
serious way, rather than with the leading questions you have posed in
earlier debates where your question posits the answer in its specific
grammatical form. In contrast, the questions I asked you were open: any
number of extremely different answers would have been possible.
Questions that ask “why,” or “how” tend to be open. Questions that ask, “is
it not true that you are [x]” tend to posit the answer. In past debates,
this is the point where you ask leading questions or state plainly that you
Rather step up to the challenge of a serious question, you offer your
summary evaluation of the counterparty together with yet another series of
Fortunately, anyone can learn what is involved in the design work of
illustrating children’s book. Even better, Martin has given his own views in
four widely read books (Salisbury 2004; Salisbury 2007; Salisbury and Styles
2012; Salisbury and Tordo 2005).
There is no need to suspect anything. Martin has made a full confession.
In contrast, you have remained evasive. First, you refused to answer open
questions on the assertion that these questions predicated an answer. Now,
you shift entirely from an issue-oriented debate to an imaginary evaluation
of Martin’s professional working mode and – by implication – an evaluation
of his character.
You are saying that you cannot answer the questions that many of us have
asked because you fear that your answers will not persuade one individual:
Stranger still, you claim that you cannot persuade Martin because you
“suspect that [Martin] believe[s] that [he] can understand and know what
designing is by reflecting on [his] thoughts and feelings while doing
design? And, that [Martin] can understand what others are doing while
designing by the same method?”
Based on Martin’s track record of publications and teaching, I’d say that
within his fields of expertise, this is not the case.
But even if it were the case, you avoided answering everyone else who has
raised similar questions in this thread and others –Birger Sevaldsen,
Francois Nsenga, Lars Albinsson, Gunnar Swanson, and myself within the past
couple of weeks.
Your repeated assertions of mathematical clarity position you as a
scientific mind and a skilled researcher. Despite this, you refuse to answer
questions you don’t like or to provide cases and examples to support your
You’ve taken the time to write over thirty posts in the past two months. In
all of these, you repeat your assertions without addressing the questions
that people ask and without developing the argument.
Now you are back to evaluating people who ask questions you don’t want to
This is not an issue specific to this thread, but to the style of debate.
Martin was quite right to note that: “you have decided against presenting
evidence and reasoning and in favour of a slanging match.”
This has often happened before.
Ken Friedman, PhD, DSc (hc), FDRS | University Distinguished Professor |
Swinburne University of Technology | Melbourne, Australia | University email
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> | Private email
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> | Mobile +61 404 830
462 | Academia Page http://swinburne.academia.edu/KenFriedman
Guest Professor | College of Design and Innovation | Tongji University |
Shanghai, China ||| Adjunct Professor | School of Creative Arts | James Cook
University | Townsville, Australia
Salisbury, Martin. 2004. Illustrating Children’s Books: Creating Pictures
for Publication. New York: Barron’s Educational.
Salisbury, Martin. 2007. Play Pen: New Children’s Book Illustration. London:
Salisbury, Martin, and Morag Styles. 2012. Children’s Picturebooks: The Art
of Visual Storytelling. London: Laurence King.
Salisbury, Martin, and Hélène Tordo. 2005. Illustrer des livres pour enfants
: Imaginer, créer, se faire éditer. Paris: Eyrolles.
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