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Guest GYOKO

Do You Really Know What Is Design?

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Guest GYOKO

This are extracts from "Beyond Design". The book that I am writing now. Some of it is from the Preface and the Introduction, and the other chapter is called: "What is design?"

 

I am very interested to hear how you percieve this text. Do you find it interesting? Do you find it useful? How do you feel about it?

..If you like this one, I can post you the chapter "The beginings of modern design". - a nice overview.

 

 

 

__________________________________

 

Design as itself is not an exclusive process. Nothing starts or ends with it, but is in the middle of everything. The process of work spans through several different disciplines, and each discipline can influence directly or indirectly the final outcome. Even the tiniest details can influence the final design –for example, a flaw in the design brief or marketing strategy. Much like in the “Butterfly Effect†theory -A term that some meteorologists began using when trying to explain the unpredictability of the weather. The theory was that: if a butterfly chances to flap his wings in Beijing in March, then, by August, hurricane patterns in the Atlantic would be completely different. The future of design lies in the multidisciplinary teams and in the exchange and understanding of the knowledge between them. If designers can manipulate with this sum of knowledge, design in the future will not just be in the middle of the things, but will become the main link in this new system of work.

 

Today, Design has become an extremely wide area of expertise, overlapping with many other disciplines. Knowledge of the classics of modern design has almost become a common cultural property. Design objects today are presented in a similar manner as art.

 

Industrial design in the past has been known as the “Determination Of A Products Formâ€Â, or like in Germany prior to 1945, Produktgestaltung (“Product Shapingâ€Â) or Industrielle Formgebung (Industrial Form Givingâ€Â). At that time, the design has been the exclusive concern of the engineers.

Design today, is a significant marketing factor whose importance is an essential component of the business policy, in an increasing number of firms.

Design tomorrow, can evolve to become the leading force in the multidisciplinary teams that will be creating the new corporate philosophies and national strategies.

 

In an age, in which many products are technically mature, distinctions in quality no longer exist in certain market sectors, and the determination of prices for products with approximately the same wage and material costs, can hardly vary. As a result of that, design becomes the ultimate difference in competitiveness. Nevertheless, design means more then just forming individual products. The image of the entire firm, in everything from the letterhead to its company buildings, from its uniforms to its advertisement –it’s so called Corporate Identity*, is designed. Even the manufacturing, the transportation, distribution and the waste management can be and should be incorporated in the design strategy.

 

 

There is an idea that the future of Design is some kind of abstraction, with no real definition. Perhaps only an entity. In order to understand this entity, first we need to answer the question, “What is design?†Since design is influenced in both the theory and practice, by the most varied factors, it’s no longer possible to come up with a single definition.

So, what lies behind this confusion?

 

 

Even today there still isn’t an exact definition of what design is. In the course of years, there have been many variations of what it should be, but nothing is finalized, as design is an ever changing and evolving field. And because of that, we constantly need to be oriented towards the future definitions and developments of the design. There are two ways for us to foresee the future; one is if we create it, and the other is if we know and understand it’s past, and the present, and follow it’s evolutionary link.

 

Etymologically, the word “design†comes from the Italian disegno, which since the Renaissance has meant the drafting or drawing of a work, and in general, beyond this, the idea at the root of a work. In the 16th century in England, design was used in the sense of a “plan from which something is to be made …a drawn sketch for an artwork.†The word also connotes planning, purpose and intention. As for the term design process, we can also read it as a problem-solving process.

 

We have used the term design in general, for the drafting and planning of industrial products. In this way, we can limit the term to the period since the Industrial Revolution, which began in England, and from there it spread to the other countries of the world. (Regardless of that, I would like to mention that for many people, Leonardo Da Vinci 1452 – 1519, ranks as the “first designerâ€Â) However, with the coming of industrialization, the history of design also begins – more precisely with the opening of the Great Exhibition held in London in 1851.

For this purpose, a new building was constructed; it was called The Crystal Palace. Joseph Paxton (1801 – 1865) designed the building and made a clear break, with traditional separation of interior and exterior. Engineering techniques and new materials, now determined the aesthetics of a building.

 

At the first international industrial exhibition of modern times, “the Great Exhibition of 1851â€Â, there were 1.756 French participants, of which many have gained awards. Although this success delighted the French officialdom, Count Leon de Laborde, who had been in charge of organizing French participation he wrote a number of critics in his report on the exhibition, published in 1856, showed him to have been one of the most perceptive men of his time, and one of the prophets of future developments in the decorative arts.

Leon de Laborde was an eminent archeologist, a member of the Institut and director of the Archives Nationales during the Second Empire. He had traveled widely and studied the great monuments of antiquity. However, unlike some of his contemporaries, he did not make a cult of the past and he roundly criticized artists who killed art by making a fetish, of copying the masterpieces of past ages. He made the following statement at the beginning of his report: “The future of the Arts, of the Sciences and of Industry lies in their association.†According to him, artists should concern themselves much more with the settings and surroundings of everyday life*.

 

 

 

* Corporate Identity (CI): The uniform image of a firm, from an intrinsic and extrinsic perspective, intended to clearly distinguish the firm from its competition and to give it instant recognizability. The CI incorporates the design of all products, buildings, and means of communication–e.g., company magazines, advertisements, and letterhead. It might even dictate the design of the uniform clothing (or determination of a dress code) and social behavioral norms toward customers. A related term is corporate culture (CC), which refers to the efforts of a firm to create a respected cultural image, for example, by sponsoring cultural events and social benefits for employees.

 

Source: Design - An Illustrated Historical Overview by Thomas Hauffe – Published in 1996 by Barron’s Educational Series Inc. (Page: 63)

 

 

* Reference from the article: Art Nouveau by Roger-Henri Guerrand - The Birth Of A Modern Style

 

Source: The Encyclopedia Of Decorative Arts 1890-1940; Edited by Philippe Garner – Published in 1988 by Chartwell Books Inc. (Page 8 – 17)

 

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Guest akgraphics

I think you should post the rest of this chapter, all the product design books I have read the bookstore in town in my lunchtimes all seem to be catalalogues of what the authors percieve as good design, and their designers, which is a bit of a drag to read, and not very helpful after the fifth book!

 

I can't claim to have read enough design books to judge them all, but your extract I found ...intriguing. Your book doesn't sound like your everyday design manual, especially after reading your other topics.

 

Please post more extracts! Not being in formal education until next year, and not being in design education until 5 years time, these topics are keeping me sharp. ...and are a good read!

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Guest GYOKO

thanks!

i am glad that you like it ,and the things that you mentioned are really why this book is different. you dont get to read this things in design books. and mostly the things that I read in a book by a designer, is not about the design, but is like a description of his portfolio "I did this for that company, and they like it...and then that for this compay and it was fun" , I mean what the hell is that? Its nice to read about somoebody's experiences, but its not the right way to learn something.

I try to avoid examples like that as much as posible.

 

and most of the articles I have read about design ,dont really go deep in to the things. they just cover a surface of somehting. so I usually combine knowledge from several books and articles and then I write down my observation on the things.

 

But since you like it, I will post some more eventually.

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Guest akgraphics

thanks. I guess the kind of sentiment you describe in design-authors' works is understandable. If you get to the top of the design profession, you've presumably had a tough time of it. To share something useful with the rest of the design community, may feel like giving away the secret of your success, which you may feel disinclined to do, having fought your way to the top. This certainly wouldn't be the case for all, but I think it would prevent some from giving any real useful information out. My speculation.

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Guest GYOKO

perhaps, but in most cases there are 2 types of designers.

art oriented and business (corporate oriented). i am strugling in the middle, moving towards the corporate oriented designers.

the first type of designers have no real idea how things really work. they believy in the mighty power of creativity, which is good, but not good enough. with a little psychological research you can find out why people like some things, and why dislike others.

there a few examples of art oriented (industrial) designers that have succeded, and we all know their names. The rest, are mostly unknown, but we feel their presence in our everyday lives, which cannot be said for the first ones.

 

the design evolution is inevitable, and the business type of designers is ever more emerging. for example, you can take a look of the Institute of Design graduate programs,(Chicago). they are purely concept and business oriented, and companies like Microsoft, IBM, and Motorola are strugling to take graduate students from there. (They have only MA and PhD degrees there) Their alumni's have usually middle management positions from the start, and the Institute has 100% placement of their students.

From what you can see, no other arts and crafts school can even closely compare with this.

And with China's arrival on the design scene, the stylng and re-design part of the job (which majorty of designers are doing that today, but claim that they are doing a real design) will move move there, since the costs is 8 times lower than what designers in the US are charging. And chinese designers are excelent in rendering and in 3D. So, the rest of us, who are not going to be working in China , should focus on the strategic part of the design. the real problem-solving part. Developing completly new products and services from scratch ,instead of simply re-drawing flashier products.

 

good thing that we started a conversation on this, since i need to write about this things in the conclusion chapter of the book. it easier for me to concentrate on this things when I am discussing with someone about it.

 

in most cases I am not threatend by sharing my conclusions and ideas, since very few collegues that I have meet studying around can actually compete wiht me on this level. for example I still havent learned 3D modeling (lazy bastard) ,and I know several graphic programs, but not to a perfection, and there are lots of people who can draw much better then me. but when it comes to logical development of completly new product concepts, than all of those people usually fail to do so. I wonder why... :)

Probobly because they are so focus on visual things than on conceptual ones. (Irronicly enough I am doing a masters degree in Visual Communication)

In my opinion, they are too focused on threating design as an art form (based on their personal taste or style) than threating design as a business tool created to satisfy OTHER peoples needs.

I personaly have no prefered style, and I try to find a suitable style for every project, since they are all different in their own way.

If Phillipe Starck can afford him self to present his particular style, the rest of us need to adjust and to follow the style of the company that has hired us. And hence comes the term that I like to use - "corporate designers".

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Guest Marra
perhaps, but in most cases there are 2 types of designers.

art oriented and business (corporate oriented). i am strugling in the middle, moving towards the corporate oriented designers.

the first type of designers have no real idea how things really work. they believy in the mighty power of creativity, which is good, but not good enough.

 

Please explain this belief Gyoko.

 

Not good enough for what? For a modern world bent on profits? Accelerating development? Consumerism? Do consumers actually know what they are consuming anymore? In many ways they do not, they never have chance to fully engage with most products these days that pass through their lives with increasing speed.

 

I praise many designers who choose to be artists, choose to create objects that people may appreciate more than something that is seen as disposable in modern society. People like this rarely have a great standard of life compared to those who are corporate orientated. This is because money is not important to them, profits are not important to them and what is important is creating something that truly has some work(wo)manship in it.

 

I find the comment "the first type of designers have no real idea of how things work" quite offensive actually and above all illustrates a certain lack of understanding.

 

Was it not you who said a few days ago that you can appreciate anything usually if you have researched into its logic, reason and aims? The above comment is quite contradictory isnt it?

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Guest GYOKO

no need to get offended! I will try to clear some things regarding this...

 

for the quote " in most cases there are 2 types of designers. art oriented and business (corporate oriented). i am strugling in the middle, moving towards the corporate oriented designers.

the first type of designers have no real idea how things really work. they believy in the mighty power of creativity, which is good, but not good enough." it was ment in terms of corporate design.

 

the comment that they have ne real idea how things really work is based on the lack of the knowledge from many other disciplines, like sociology, psychology, and antropologhy, in order to understand why people choose one product over another one.

and from what I have observed so far, most of the designers are so oriented on their tehnical skills that they are completly overlooking the system of how things function in the society. Its a question of ego, if you ask me.

"I know the best!" - everyone of us has it.

I have seen so many ridicilous projects purely based on the personal feelings of the designers. I know that this is a tricky moment now, but I had cases in my class when some colegues were presenting their projects, and when they were asked why have they done a certain thing, they replayed by "cause I like it like that". excuse me? is that all? what is that? you can like it when you are going to make it for your self. answer like that, or even the worst one "i dont know" is something that is inacceptible for a designer.

you MUST know why are you doing the things that you do. improvise if you need to do, but do have an idea why is that so.

and I dont even need to mention the full science of forms and colors and how people react to them. how you can achieve a certain mood by certain color, material, or form. tell me that you cant influence people by that. the only difference between these 2 types of designers is that the first act upon their feelings, and the others understand whay they do the things that they do.

 

But at the end, I am talking about the commercial aspects of the design. And there is perfect scientific explanation for all posible behaviors there are. As a designer you need to respond to this behaviors. We dont create the need, we satisfy it . (the advertisers create the needs :))

in marketing language, in the words of Michael R. Solomon: "After all, if we don’t understand why people behave as they do, how can we identify their needs? If we can’t identify their needs, how can we satisfy those needs? If we can’t satisfy people’s needs, we don’t have a marketing concept…"

 

art compared to design is something completly different.

you create art to satisfy yourself personally, you create design to satisfy other peoples need (and finding a satisfaction in that).

 

...i said that the text will provoke you :)) I really like hearing your comments since I know that you are positioned on the other side.

I know that you are well educated and that you also read quite a lot, so I guess you know most of the things.

but make clear the distinction between art and design.

 

â€ÂAn art product is viewed primarily as an object of aesthetic contemplation without any functional value. A craft product in contrast, is admired because of the beauty with which it performs some functionâ€Â.

 

please, continue responding on this topic. I like to hear everything you think. i might even change some things in my book if you can prove me wrong :)

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Guest Marra

I am off to a party right now but I will have a think on exactly how to prove you wrong Gyoko;)

 

I dont think we sit on opposite sides of theory in design but we have chosen very different texts to read as to direct our thoughts.

 

Mine have just never been about corporations and profit as i believe that kills creativity more than anything.

 

And art does have a function, it can make people feel a wide spectrum of feeling and emotions, it can provoke change within a society and sometimes the world. Functions dont have to be physicak in this day and age.

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Guest GYOKO

well, i will be looking forward for your replay.

i like your view on things. even corporate design today is about evoking emotions, so its not that bad to earn few buck while doing that :)

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Guest Marra

Right, its been a while but I have been busy and not just had the time to sit down and work my way through this argument... so here we go.

 

You start roughly with this idea...

 

"the comment that they have ne real idea how things really work is based on the lack of the knowledge from many other disciplines, like sociology, psychology, and antropologhy, in order to understand why people choose one product over another one.

and from what I have observed so far, most of the designers are so oriented on their tehnical skills that they are completly overlooking the system of how things function in the society. Its a question of ego, if you ask me."

 

I dont know which designers you work with but many do research most of those areas you speak of and many of them aren't 'corporate' designers but independant designers who are just very interested in the way the world works. If you do not know how people relate to objects, react to different smells and colours, different surfaces that they touch then you dont know how you, yourself actually works.

 

I think a lot of designers do research into all of this and then cast much of it aside, trying to create a new way to be and to live, which is just as valid as following what everyone else has said before. You do know that people used to think the world was flat once you know? Well the same rationality can be applied to scientific and psychological analysis in this world. Your not a designer if you just swallow everything you hear and dont choose to question it.

 

You then go onto...

 

""I know the best!" - everyone of us has it.

I have seen so many ridicilous projects purely based on the personal feelings of the designers. I know that this is a tricky moment now, but I had cases in my class when some colegues were presenting their projects, and when they were asked why have they done a certain thing, they replayed by "cause I like it like that". excuse me? is that all? what is that? you can like it when you are going to make it for your self. answer like that, or even the worst one "i dont know" is something that is inacceptible for a designer.

you MUST know why are you doing the things that you do. improvise if you need to do, but do have an idea why is that so."

 

You're right, everyone of us has it, somewhere. Confidence, that self belief that what you are doing is right and you cant question anyone about that self belief, if its wrong they will work that out later when it doesnt work out well.

 

I am curious about two things. One, what kind of projects or ideas were being presented to the group. Were they actual designs or theories? You seem to be a design theorist or analyist if I am correct? As far as I know I havent seen any of your 'designs' and as such begin to question your views of such people. You surely need a background in these peoples work if you are to question it.

 

Some designers work on an incredibly simple level of thought and it works out very well for them sometimes. This is just the way people work. Some people arent confident about talking about what really drives their ideas, it might be something that is a bit more personal and they dont want to be public about it?

 

I'd rather someone just said that they chose to do something because they 'liked' it or they didnt know than make something up and lied about it.

 

Moving on...

 

"But at the end, I am talking about the commercial aspects of the design. And there is perfect scientific explanation for all posible behaviors there are. As a designer you need to respond to this behaviors. We dont create the need, we satisfy it . (the advertisers create the needs :))

in marketing language, in the words of Michael R. Solomon: "After all, if we don’t understand why people behave as they do, how can we identify their needs? If we can’t identify their needs, how can we satisfy those needs? If we can’t satisfy people’s needs, we don’t have a marketing concept…""

 

You are talking about the commercial aspects of design, but it is all commercial in a world such as ours unless you are tucked away in some remote forest and sell to a local market, but still, that is commercial in some way.

 

I find it hard to accept that there is nothing beyond 'scientific explainations' Gyoko? When you think about it, after science there is nothing left to question. As long as anything is backed up by scientific fact (there are actually no facts in existence) then people just swallow what they are told. And we dont need to respond to these behaviours because we should be the ones that forcast them as we create them to begin with.

 

For too long scientists have just created new technology after new technology with absolutely no thought as to what they might do to society, how it might be used wrongly. All they focus on is what a brilliant thing it is that something new has been discovered or developed. Most are smart and very intelligent in many ways but they all hide behind closed doors and never have to answer to anyone about their actions.

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Guest Robomod

I just say that "design" is synonymous with "decide." And a good design is a good decision.

 

There's my book. lol

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Gyoko- re: the designer who said " I like it that way" Just because someone says that this is the sole reason that they designed something a certain way, does not in any way negate the design.

Humans are constantly synthesizing and analyzing information on a subconscious level. Sometimes the design can "look right" and on further analysis it will probably be right. F1 designers and boat designers follow a maxim-"if it looks right it probably is right"

As you examine experts in fields like physics and medicine, you find that more advanced practitioners behave more like artists than analysts.

They synthesize years of information and training on a subconscious level to the point that their gut is sufficient to give them direction on a good design. It probably took years to figure out that people found rounded forms pleasant because it reminded customers of human interactions. But to even start designing, it took someones gut to say " I like it" If enough people use a product and say " That's awesome" we don't really to analyze further except perhaps to duplicate and trouble shoot. But it is very difficult to come up with a theory and then create products from it.

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Guest GYOKO

sorry for not replaying sooner, but i am terribly busy this period. however, i like this discussion, and i will write down my answer as soon as i free some time for my self.

thank you for commenting on this topic

 

by the way, the bike on that photo was done without analysing too much, and following only a gut feeling of what I liked. it still is my favorite project. but its only a prototype...

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Guest GYOKO

ok...

imagine this situation: one man has seen a need, people to carry the phones with them. so he developed the device that we call cell phone. another man, took this product and created 1000 diferent variations of it.

Who is the real designer here?

They both are.

Which one is better?

If you ask me, is the guy who created the concept of the cell phone.

 

When I am talking about design, I am talking about the people who like to see them self as the people that create something which is new.

If someone of you studied Interior design, than he would probably be able to tell the difference between Interior Design and Decoration.

 

Designer is not independent if he has his own studio, but creates projects for other companies. He is still corporate designer, since he follows the corporate rules. Not of his own company, but from the company that ordered him the designs.

Designer is independent when he makes things just for himself. Then he dont need to explain anything to anybody. If somebody else likes the things he does, than thats great, but its a coincidence. Its not a conscious problem-solving process.

 

When i do a project, first I follow my personal feeling about that particular project, preety much on the same idea, if it looks right, it probably is right! But dont even for a second think that the F1 engineers dont recheck everything at least 5 times before they put a man inside 400km/h machine.

If it looks right, prove it that is right!

 

I am not just an design analyst, since I have started to study design from a scratch. And I have been working on projects from interior and furniture design, product design, to ceramic vases, to cars, to motorcycles, graphic design, typography, and so on...

 

And, as for my comments on the group projects, I was commenting on regular product or interior design projects. not theories. most of the people that I have meet are incapable of creating solid design theories. their most frequent answer, when they were asked to do that, was dont bother us with that please, just tell us what to draw.

that was never a case for me, I always question everything.

 

In present, most designers recieve briefs from marketing directors, and they answer to them. then the marekting directors explain what designers are doing to their presidents, and then the presidents explain to their CEO's what the marketing directors said about the designers work... and at the end, the designers are usually lost in translation.

I am saying that if designers get a better business overview, instead of just arts and crafts overview, they can better express themselves directly to the top, and develop concepts of their own, instead of just beeing the "people who make things to look better".

 

i havent send some of my works here cause I have no time to sort out my portfolio, but after new year, I might do that... I will be applying for a PhD in design later next year.

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