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  • Writer's pictureQuite Frankly

"Designers Tackle ill-defined Problems"

What is design? In the lecture "Theorizing Sketching and Craftsmanship", design is described as "the practice of understanding material and visual culture and the art of planning, inventing, making, and doing." Before starting this program, I thought of design in a simpler way that didn't include as many layers and intricacies as I'm learning now. Design ,for me, was drawing, sketching and bring imagination to life through graphic design, woodwork, sculpture etc. I didn't think about how architecture, urban planning, and technological developments were involved. There's so much more to it and now the possibilities are endless. The Design Research Society, founded in the 1960s, is one of the largest and most important conferences to the design world.

This conference grew out of the Design Methods Movement which was started in the United Kingdom with its key founders being Bruce Archer, John Chris Jones, Tomas Maldonado, Herbert Simon and Christopher. One thing that surprised me in this lecture is the push to have design be less art-like. I couldn't fathom how design could possibly include less art. The want was for design to be systematic, methodical and use empirical research. I'm glad that this eventually was seen as more of a backwards step from the progression of design itself. Craftsmanship, imagination and the process of making is key to production.

The study of Architecture and Urban Planning intrigued philosophers like Donald Schon who dedicated a wealth of time to watching and studying architecture students. They called this a "reflective process" involving 'reflection-in-action". What better way to learn about something than to immerse yourself in it. This way you are able to hear the conversations, identify the train of thought that led to the idea, and be present for the construction of that idea up until its final stages. Now design as its own culture as advocated by Nigel Cross is such a bold statement and I love it. And I say it's bold because of the depths of a culture and how it's created. It makes perfect sense especially to those in the design world for it to be a culture being that it is entangled in almost every aspect of our lives. Many outside of design probably wouldn't understand the need to identify it as a culture until thoroughly explained but even then without being somewhat immersed some parts of the importance may be lost.

Like the readings from last week, the topic of sketching has made it's way back as it probably will throughout since it is a vital part of design. Now I had no idea there were so many different ways to sketch. I just thought of sketching as a very well thought out drawing that can take a considerable amount of time to create. Of course, I was proven wrong. According to Bryon Lawson there are 7 types of sketching or drawing: Presentation drawing, Instruction drawing, Consultation drawing, Experiential drawing, diagrams, fabulous drawings, and proposition drawings. Sketching helps designers to visualize their ideas, explore the possibilities and reflect on it. It allows you to work through the simpler details without making an entire prototype with all its complexities and realizing you should have spent more time thinking it out.

In Alex Buxton's "Anatomy of Sketching", they describe a sketch as being made with "the invitation of suggestions, criticisms, and changes". In a sense, it should be incomplete. Any critique of the work should be encouraged to assist with the progression.

For me, this would be so difficult. I am tend to want my work to always be my best especially if i'm sharing it with others. I'm usually thinking of the final product before I think about how I'm going to do it and because of that I will try to create the final product without thinking of it in its simplest form. Sketching also means letting go and becoming more comfortable with mistakes, uncertain ideas, and being open to many ideas. Moving away from sketching, there is also the exploration of modeling. In the reading "Cardboard Modeling: Exploring, Experiencing and Communicating", I was floored by the precision and detailed approached to creating something as simple as a cube and a cylinder. The materials are a lot more than I thought you would need. That is to say everything outline in the reading isn't completely necessary but suggested. The model is meant to be designed in a way that is sturdy enough for interactive handling so the construction needs to be sound. Foam-core seems to be the main choice for constructing the overall model because of its variation in color, thickness, and ease to work with. i was most impressed with the camera as the end of the reading. It was so beautifully made that I wouldn't want anyone to touch it. I'm definitely looking forward to creating models like it in this course.

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