top of page
  • Writer's pictureQuite Frankly

"Humans Think Through Metaphors"

In the lecture "Models & Metaphors", metaphors are explained with their relation to design and how we use them throughout our language. Being a Creative writing major, I normally think about metaphors in relation to poetry, short stories etc. but not in normal daily language. While listening to the lecture it became apparent that metaphors are more present than I thought. It is littered in our speech and it makes sense because when thinking about the world we live in, to understand anything is also to understand its relation to something else.

Garrett Morgan talked about metaphors not only being able to "capture the essence of something" but making room for communication to be more effective. They can also do the opposite and instead of expanding your perspective, it could limit it therefore becoming counterproductive.

I found Mental models to be interesting as it reminded me of affordances. At first, I figured they might be similar in meaning but after looking into it further, it seems apparent that they play hand in hand with each other. In order to create a mental model, you have to think about the affordances of the product you are creating. This brings me to the lecture "Design and the Importance of Imaginaries" and the reading "Metaphors and Imaginaries in Design Research for Change" by Dan Lockton. First I'll start with the lecture. Lockton said during his lecture "We don't know how things work, we make it up". I thought about this for a bit. This brought me back to affordances, in that we imagine what a tool is likely to do before we use it which makes sense but it he also talking about the creator of the tool and before it's being made? We can imagine how a tool that has already been created is meant to be used before we use it and we can also create a tool and make up a use for it. Both, in my opinion, are true. He also says "In order to trust something, you have to make up stories about how it works".

This is definitely for yourself as the creator and those who will be engaging with it. If you don't believe the story you've created for your tool, no one else will. The story/marketing is very important in building trust which is why there are so many successful and popular products today. Once you've gained trust, it becomes easier to use and rely on the tool you've made or acquired.

Lockton continues by introduce the topic of design for behavior which is using research related to behavior from different mediums to understand how to apply them to design. He elaborates more about this in his writings mentioned earlier. How can we use research to understand how people think? How can we use it to mitigate certain challenges in health environment, social issues, and politics? According to Lockton, we can use design methods to think of different ways of living and create new behaviors for more sustainability. I think this is very doable and will take quite a bit of time. I really enjoyed this reading in that it uses terms and methods like metaphors in a broad way which aids in the expansion of how people can think.

4 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page