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in Design WickedProblems Thinking
at Thisessayis based on a paper presented "Colloque Recherchessur le Design: the Interactions," Incitations, Implications, first Frenchuniversitysymposiumon design researchheld October 1990 at deTechnologie deCompiegne, l'Universite France. Compilgne,
Introduction Despite effortsto discoverthe foundationsof designthinkingin the fine arts,the natural sciences,or most recently,the socialsciandremains a surprisingly eludes reduction flexible ences,design activity. No single definition of design, or branchesof profesor graphic sionalized suchas industrial design,adequately practice coversthe diversityof ideasandmethodsgathered togetherunder the label. Indeed,the varietyof research reportedin conference books and articles, papers,journal suggeststhatdesigncontinues to expandin its meaningsand connections,revealing unexpected This follows the dimensionsin practiceas well as understanding. trendof designthinkingin the twentiethcentury,for we haveseen to afield designgrowfroma tradeactivityto a segmentedprofession andto what now shouldbe recognizedas a research for technical new liberalart of technological culture. It may seem unusualto talk about designas a liberalart,particularlywhen many people are accustomedto identifying the liberalartswith the traditional "artsand sciences"that are institutionalizedin colleges and universities.But the liberalarts are transformation in twentieth-century undergoinga revolutionary
culture, and design is one of the areasin which this transformation is strikingly evident. To understandthe change that is now underway, it is important to recognize that what are commonly regarded as the liberal arts today are not outside of history. They originatedin the Renaissance and underwentprolonged development that culminatedin the nineteenth century as a vision of an encyclopedic educationof beaux arts, belles lettres,history, various naturalsciences and mathematics,philosophy, and the fledgling social sciences. This circle of learning was divided into particular subject matters, each with a proper method or set of methods suitable to its exploration. At their peak as liberal arts, these subject matters provided an integrated understandingof human experienceand the arrayof availableknowledge. By the end of the nineteenth century, however, existing subjects were explored with progressively more refined methods, and new subjects were added to accord with advances in knowledge. As a
Design Issues: Vol. VIII, Number 2 Spring 1992 5
they alsocontribute gressively narrow in scope. to the as liberal studies. was only one manifestation of the architectonic art of design in the twentieth century. to theadvance contribute thesesubjects ues." the derivative term "architecture" as it is commonly used in the modern world. an echo of theirold status retain matters these subject Today. Theold centerof theuniverse withinitself. necessary for everyone in a civilized society. ed. was a patchwork untilall thatremained quiltof specializations. New York: Capricorn Books. in orderto serve ing knowledgebeyondthe libraryor laboratory the purposeof enrichinghumanlife. rpt. between hereis the root of the difference WhatDewey describes facts of a in the the old andnew liberalarts." Developments in the Early Renaissance. design practice has tended toward pragmatism and pluralism. 3) Walter Groupius was one of the first to recognize the beginnings of a new liberal art in design. In an essay written in 1937. 1970)." Scope of Total Architecture (New York: Collier Books. and have lost with eachotherandwith the commonproblemsand "connection mattersof daily life from which they select aspects for precise disciThe searchfor new integrative methodologicalanalysis.it lies in a concernto connectandintegrate are suited in that but and sciences arts the from alike.thereis littlehope of sensiblyextendcommunication. The emergenceof designthinkingin the twentiethcenturyis of seekinga scientific importantin this context. nature the results to new anddifferent ble of direction through of intentional mediation operations. explorof knowledgethatwill combinetheory ing concreteintegrations with practicefor new productivepurposes.Although have becomeproas they to its fragmentation. regardedas a liberalart in its own right in the ancient world. If design theory has often tended toward neo-positivism. . pragmatism.The significance basisfor designdoes not lie in the likelihoodof reducing designto one or anotherof the sciences-anextensionof the neo-positivist in thesetermsby somedesigntheorists projectandstillpresented usefulknowlRather. wasthemindknowingby. but simply an integral part of the stuff of life.leading arts. 4) John Dewey. The Quest for Certainty: A Study of the Relation of Knowledge and Action (1929. andaction."' one of the has become sciences arts and the to plines complement centwentieth life in the and themesof intellectual practical central tury.betweenspecialization of integrative andtheuseof new disciplines matter thinking. more numerous. Groupius appeared to understand that architecture. Levy (Albany: State University of New York Press. subject 6 . 2) Neo-positivism. the liberal arts have similarly been described as "architectonic" because of their integrativecapacity. Our guiding principle was that design is neither an intellectual nor a material affair. "The Transformation of the Liberal Arts in the Renaissance. Bernard S. The split between theory and practicein design is an echo of the difference between the predominantly neo-positivist philosophy of science and the exceptionally diverse philosophies of practicing scientists.and this is the reason arts why we turnto designthinkingfor insightinto the new liberal culture of technological Design and Intentional Operations The beginningof the study of designas a liberalartcan be traced in the earlypartof the twenthatoccurred to the cultural upheaval was describedby this of tieth century. and various forms of phenomenology have strongly influenced design education and practice in the twentieth century. Throughout Western culture. ways edge are of thepresent. transcends "architectonic.. Design history.the circleof learningwas furtherdividedand subdivided. theory. 1972). Such philosophical differences are illustrated in the split that developed between the theoreticaland studio courses at the Hochschule fur Gestaltung (HfG) Ulm before its closing. he reflected on the founding of the Bauhaus as an institution grounded on the idea of an architectonic art: "Thus the Bauhaus was inaugurated in 1919 with the specific object of realizing a modern architectonic art. The new centeris indefiniteinteractions takingplacewithin a courseof butwhichis capawhichis notfixedandcomplete.. 19-20.buttheyflourishas specialized of an evermorerichanddetailedarrayof factsandvalperception of knowledge. and criticism could benefit from closer attention to the pluralism of views that guide actual design practice. 1960).which like human naturewas meant to be all-embracingin its scope. 290-91. andpurposes to theproblems Designers. of powerscomplete of anequipment means mateexternal andmerelyexercised uponanantecedent rial equallycompletewithin itself.1) From Richard McKeon. Without integrative disciplines of understanding. result.with phenomenologists in both areas. The term in this case.The key feature upheaval of a new as the perception JohnDewey in TheQuestforCertainty centerof the universe. 168-69.
not inherently and immediatelyenjoyable. Because of technologies..5) John Dewey. New York: Dover Publications. uct of operations in conformity undertaken deliberately with a planor projectthathastheproperties of a working hypothesis. ingthenewroleof design Aftera period in whichnatural knowledge progressed by fromtheindustrial science entered crafts. of notionsthat Nowadayswe havea messyconjunction are consistentneitherwith one anothernor with the tenorof our actuallife. Carrying Dewey exploresthe new relabetween He suggests in Experience science. 1958). 35758. "By Nature and By Art. Adams." Philosophy of Education (Problems of Men) (1946. then the implicationsof this position shouldbe avowedandcarriedthrough. rpt. Dewey pointedtowardscienceas art. although thepractice of knowinghasbeenassimilated to theprocedureof theusefularts.-involving. rpt.. Experience and Nature (1929. International 7) The neo-positivist Encyclopedia of Unified Science. art. 357. Theconsideration thatcompletes the groundfor assimilating science to art is the fact that assignment of scientific statusin anygivencaserestsuponfactswhich areexperimentally Scienceis now the prodproduced. I shallnow usetheword"technology.but betweenthose modesof practice that are not intelligent. 6) Dewey. also included Dewey's Theory of Valuation.and thatthe only distinction worthdrawing is not between and practice theory. thatis to say.that the meaningand implications of the new directionarestill not fully understood. Number 2 Spring 1992 7 . which included Charles Morris's Foundations of the Theory of Signs. Althoughthe neo-positivistscourtedDewey for a time.yet "art" of beingassigned a lowerrank instead is equally esteemed andhonored. theseobservations further." 29192. Dewey observes. Knowledgeis still regarded by mostthinkers asdirect of ultimate grasp reality.. However. 288.however.andpractice. Design Issues: Vol. acircular between relationship theartsof production andscience hasbeenestablished.doing that manipulates and arranges naturalenergies. Totowa. New Jersey: Littlefield. 1958). to mark thisdifferential feature of theart whichis science.knowledge is achievedby a new kind of artdirectedtowardordersof change. Inc. 9) Dewey. 8) John Dewey. WhatDeweymeans in thiscontextis crucial to understandby "art" andtechnology in contemporary culture. "By Nature and By Art. borrowing upon a periodof steadyandever-accelerated growthby means of deliberate inventionof such appliances on its own Inorder account.It would then be seen that scienceis an art." .it was that his understanding of the development of sciencein apparent the twentiethcenturywas quite differentfrom theirunderstanding7. that art is practice. Butif moderntendencies arejustified in puttingartand creationfirst. Dewey's Logic was ignored or ridiculed by neo-positivist logicians and grammarians. VIII. Experience and Nature.Again while science is said to lay hold of reality. tionship and Nature that knowledgeis no longerachievedby directconformity of ideas with the fixed orders of nature.Insteadof treatingscienceas primaryand art as secondary. and those which are full of enjoyedmeanings.
mastered the discipline with by a few peoplewho practice distinctiveinsightandsometimesadvance it to new areasof inno8 .marketing publicthatultimately uses the resultsof designthinking.thisundermines ideasinto objective.Insteadof meaning knowledgeof how to makeand use artifactsor the artifacts thinkthemselves. among is littlehope of understanding the foundations andvalueof design culture. how it situations. to cultivate the subject mattersthat are the focus of scientific curiosity. in turn. thinkingin an increasingly complextechnological The Doctrine of Placements art"I meana disciplineof thinkingthatmaybe shared By "liberal to some degreeby all men andwomen in their daily lives and is.Insteadof yieldingproductive the resultis oftenconfusionanda breakdown of comintegrations.The operates. technologyfor Dewey is anartof experimental It in intentional themselves carried out in ing.or workinghypothesiswhich in intentional constitutesthe "intention" operations-is not a significantfactorin shapinghumanexperience.industryandmanufacturanddistribution.the artsof production. andthegeneral ing.particularly in the artsof production. fact. We mistakenly identify technology with one particular type of thinkproduct-hardware-that may result from experimental ing. but overlookthe artthatlies behindandprovidesthe basisfor creatingother types of products. with a lack of intelligent to innovative munication.sometimes understanding backinto a defenseof theirwork in the context drivingdesigners artsandcrafts. the artsof production.a persistent problemin this regard betweendesigners and members of the scientificcommunitytend to leavelittle room for reflectionon the broadernatureof design andits relationto the artsand sciences.andwhy it succeedsor failsin particular of designthinkingso challengeis to gaina deeperunderstanding that more cooperation and mutual benefit is possible between thosewho applydesignthinking to remarkably different problems andsubject matters.more intelligent and meaningful. practice carry In turn. He makes no sharp sha dtinction between beteen fineanduseful distinction arts.But perceivingthe existenceof such an art only opens the door to furtherinquiry. operations the sciences. Fromthis perspective.Thereis no areaof contemporary life wheredesign-the plan. concrete embodiment. to help of traditional Withoutappropriate reflection the basis of communication all the there clarify participants. or socialandpoliticalaction. is thatdiscussions However. is. it is easy to understand why designand design thinkingcontinueto expandtheir meaningsand connections in contemporary culture. What Dewey defines as technology is not what is commonly understood in today'sphilosophyof technology.10) For Dewey. effortsto reacha clearer of designitself. to explainwhat that art is. include thefinearts.project. Thiswill helpto makethepractical exploration of design. Design evenextends into the coreof traditional scientific whereit is employed activities.
Simon. instruments. into a more has and vehicles-but thoroughand expanded ery. Number 2 Spring 1992 9 .83 of the TheSciences Simon's 12)Although in design is citedrepeatedly Artificial of of its definition because literature withlittleattenit is oftenread design. Artificial (Cambridge: 1968). combining physicalresources. However. it remains an usefulwork.when he wrote: "the proper study of comis the scienceof design.A carefulanalysisfromthe standpoint of industrial designwould be a useSuch fulcontribution to theliterature. of the physical.andthe humansciences. of material includes. throughphoexpanded tography.l the "bookishculture" transforming This includes The secondareais the designof materialobjects. 15)Thedesign objects sciof course. into communication but has illustration. ideas.new workin materials ence. relationships products is rapidlyevolving into an explorationof the problemsof conin whichformandvisualappearance mustcarrya deeper. Perhaps of one of the majorworks designtheory Sciences of the Artificial. film. phy andadvertising. 11)Herbert M." techniquesde la conception (The Journal of Design Sciences and I:1.wherea highlyfocusedformof is evident. this areahas expandedinto a concernfor logicaldecision makingandstrategic planningandis rapidlyevolvinginto an of how betterdesignthinking cancontribute to achievexploration such in concrete flow of experience situations. the traditional which includes management andhumanbeings instrumentalities. struction that unitesaspectsof art.TheSciences of the A. and computer display. culture" is used "bookish 14)Thephrase criticGeorgeSteiner and by literary book by is a themein a forthcoming of theText. in the twentieth century. VIII.engineering more integrative argument andnatural science.not only as theprofessional mankind ponent of a technicaleducationbut as a core disciplinefor every withaspects man. edgefrom manyfieldsof specialized To gain some idea of how extensivelydesign affectscontemin whichdesignis explored thefourbroadareas life. standingof the disciplinesof designin the contemporary has alreadyturnedthe The beginningof such an understanding study of the traditionalarts and sciencestoward a new engagement with the problemsof everydayexperience."" One mayreasonably educated disagree liberally of Simon'spositivistand empiricistview of design as a science thatstandbehind withthepragmatic (asone maydisagree principles of intentional the of observation operations importance Dewey's with the in modernculture). 13) See Richard "Designand intheSecond Copernican Technology Revue des scienceset Revolution.and words and new of a imagesthat is arguments through synthesis of the past. work of graphicdesign.psychological. exceptionally Buchanan.Press. inganorganic making Design Issues: Vol. in efficientsequencesand schedulesto reachspecifiedobjectives.'but thereis little reasonto disagree from an idea that all men and women may benefit early underworld. IntheVineyard Ivan Illich.such as typograincludesthe traditional andscientific book andmagazine production. domesticobjects. The thirdareais the designof activities concernfor logistics.social. The area of communicationsdesign is rapidlyevolving into a broad explorationof the problemsof communicating information.T.evident in the knowlof diversenew productswhich incorporate development inquiry. designthinking in The Simonmeant thisis whatHerbert vativeapplication. tion given to the full argument.consider porary andby manyoththe worldby professional designers throughout The firstof these as designers. themselves erswho maynot regard This areasis the design of symbolicand visual communications. January. television.5 and organizedservices.tools. Technology. and diverseinterpretation Thisarea between andhuman cultural beings. 1992). Nonetheless. of everyday traditional concernfor the formandvisualappearance machinproducts-clothing. would revealthe positivist a reading andhelp features of Simon's approach to explainwhy many designersare somewhat disenchantedwith the book.I.
with no Critiqueof Brasilia Anthropological of Chicago Press. and the work of designers in each of these vol. these four areas point toward certain kinds of objectiviJackson. Rinehartand Winston. University (Chicago: 1989). Lucy Actions:The Problem of Human. developing. ModernSystems Systems Thinking. This includes the and theStructure ofBehavior Plans (New traditionalconcerns of systems engineering. Regarding "systemics. things. This areais more and more concernedwith exploring & Row. meaningful. worksas diverse ments and Karl H. and thoughts are not only Notes on the Synthesis Alexander. VanNostrandCompany. Parts thePlatonic. 3 (1990). 1987). and M.and architects and urbanplannerswith systems Morin and the French School of and environments. shaping these environments when desirable and possible or adapting to works of systems 17)Oneof theearly engi.ty Practice. Form Harvard (Cambridge: University interconnected. actions. But there is no reason to believe that parts and wholes must be treated in ascending rather than descending order. Pribram. placeswhere one discoversthe dimensions Systems Practitioners. Plans and Situated planning or the functional analysis of the parts of complex wholes Suchman.1973). understood and used.vol. the sequence of signs. These areassuggest the lineage of design's past and present. Miller. and actions are organized in complex environments by a unifying idea or thought. playing. For example.them when necessary. industrial designers 1962).For an anthro. designers-cum-managers "CriticalSystems Thinking:Edgar activitiesand services. Galanter. as well as point to where design is headed in the future. thought. (NewYork: Harper the role of design in sustaining. 10 . Thesethree approaches arewell rience.experiences more intelligent. C. Designers are exploring a progressively wider range of connections in everyday experience and how different types of connections affect the and Some of the social structure of action. The central theme of this area is connections and consequences. because these Thought. Aristotelian. Properly "Testament Between Two all shared tion Systems Thinking by designers. Kernel in "The Critical True. But this area has Machine Communication (Cambridge: also and expanded and reflects more consciousness of the central idea. seeJames areas has created a framework for human experience in contemto systems. they are alsoplaces of invento Conversations onCritical design. The ModernistCity: An porary culture." areas are not simply categories of objects that reflect the results of L.see Ron Levy. University Cambridge Flow: The MihalyCsikszentmihalyi. Signs and images are fragments of experiencethat reflectour perception of materialobjects.the sequence could just as reasonablybe regardedas a descent theorganization of experience intwentieth century represented design from chaotic environments to the unity provided by symbols and Forexample.Material objects. In fact. area-graphic designers with communication.For morerecentdevelopments with in systemsthinking.architecture. become instruments of action.7 thatinfluenced design thinking neering Reflecting on this list of the areasof design thinking. and integrating human beings into broader ecological and cultural environments. in turn. 4 new the (1990).1990). and and whole are of many types and may be defined in many ways. But this would not be adequate. and thought could be regarded as an ascent from confusing parts to orderly wholes.A Methodology to identify and limit specific design professions within each New ing (Princeton. seeChristopher thinking. Hall. approach pological Holston. or value that expresses the unity of any balancedand funcPsychology of OptimalExperience tioning whole. 1960). But these areas are also interconnected. signs." Systems of design thinking by a reconsiderationof problems and solutions.and their subsequent integration in hierarchies."SystemsPractice. Press. 3 (1990). rary design thinking with surprising consequences for innovation. Eugene for living. Systems Engineering Jersey:D.and urban York:Holt. of images. they also interpenetrate and merge in contempoPress.vol. and engineers with materialobjects. priority given to any single one. and satisfying. things. Practice. things. and learning. it is temptfor is Arthur D.FloodandWerner seeRobert Ulrich. 18)Compare treatments of parts classicmaterialist on how a designerwishes to explore and organize expeto Depending andwholes.6 16) psychological areillustrated of thisarea in dimensions The fourth area is the design of complex systems or environas GeorgeA. Signs. actions." in human experience. working.
For example. Number 2 Spring 1992 11 .Examples abound. Fornearly a groupof architects haveaggrestwentyyears. (Of course. a holisticecological view approaching of theglobeandthewaywe liveon it. rejecting tem as "linear.but innovation comeswhen the initialselectionis repositioned at another point in the framework. traditionally been concernedwith buildingsas largesystemsor environments. architecture" areoftenthe Oxymoronssuchas "deconstructionist resultof attempts atinnovative indicate a desire repositioning." in innovation results. inarchitecture. Rogers's notionof "indeterminate form" notfromtheideas derives of literary deconstructionbut from his innovative view of multiplesystems. Richard seeks to repo20)Architect Rogers sitiontheproblems of architecture in a newperception of multiple overlapping the notionof a syssystems. political.yielding symbols. It is easyto understand thatindustrial areprimarily condesigners cernedwith material objects. virtual artificial and the and life.see perspective A Modern Architecture: View.. actions. course.pressedinto commercial or scientific service. yieldingreflections tic andrhetorical of Others have aspects products.some have considered material on the semanobjectscommunicative. openingup a wide concernsor reenergizing old rangeof new questionsandpractical debates.are themeasure of objec19)Such judgments tivityin contemporary design thinking.othersareexploring objectsas partof larger systems. but the experiment will continueuntilindividuals or groupsreposition the problems of architectureand shift generalattention 20 toward new questions.sweptawayto mercifuloblivion. In the late nineteenthand earlytwentiethcenturies.26.andenvironments. They to breakold categories. Formore on Rogers's criticism pointed of postmodern architecture fromthe of multiplesystems." According to we knowthatdesign Rogers: "Today based on linear reasoningmust be archisuperseded by an open-ended tectureof overlapping systems. Someexperiments havefallen like deadleavesat the firstfrost.This allows us to appre'systems' approach ciatetheworldasanindivisible whole. For architecture has repositioning example. ethical.2 A strikingly different is now beginning in theprorepositioning fession of graphicdesign and visual communication. weare. 58. to in architecture the context of signs.is whether painting. products. design thinking becomes design sophistry. alternative tech"smart" nologies. Thiswas modifiedunderthe influence of "communication theory"and semioticswhen the role of the was shiftedtowardthatof an interpreter of mesgraphic designer Design Issues: Vol. placedmaterial and action. experiments yieldproductive judgedby individualsandby society as a whole.the resultsof deconstructionist architecture aremixed.cycles. elaboratesimulationenvironments. Issuesincludeconservation andrecycling.however. and static. legaldimensions of design. as in the now familiar andaccepted"constructivist art"and"action The of test.hierarchical mechanicalorder. of this raisingnew questionsandideas.and thoughts.graphicdesignwas orientedtowardpersonal It was an expression throughimagemaking. movementsareevidentin eachof the designproComparable fessions:theirprimary concernbeginsin one area. they maycontribute this is a significantshift from questionsabout the internalfunctioningof productsandhow thevisualformof a productexpresses suchfunctioning. VIII.) material Finally. At present. asinother fields. sively sought reposition and visual the communication. Without to ground thepossiobjectivity discovered bilities indesign. extensionof the expressiveness of the fine arts.1991).askingnew quesobjectsin the contextof experience tions about how productsfunctionin situationsof use and how to or inhibitthe flow of activities. reality.But the research reportedin design literature shows thatindustrial have found new avenues designers of exploration objectsin the contextof by thinkingaboutmaterial signs. postmodern experimentand trends such as deconstructionistarchitecture." A Modern Architecture: View (New York: Thames andHudson Inc.
tors who seek to discoverconvincingargumentsby meansof a new synthesisof imagesandwords.designers would no longerbe but as communicaviewedas individuals who decoratemessages. argumentation.Managers customershad difficultynavigating throughtheir stores to find merchandise. orings corporate public "messages" the graphicdesigner"coded"the corporatemessage.a redesign egy to employ products themselves as signs or clues to the of a store.which often distracts one from the central tasks of effective communication.andthoughts. the productsof graphicdesignwere viewed as "things" or "entities" (materialtexts) to be "decoded"by spectators. organization There are so many examplesof conceptualrepositioningin thesystematic no one hasrecognized patdesignthatit is surprising ternof inventionthatlies behinddesignthinkingin the twentieth but in a rich. Traditional graphic designyieldedlarger signsbutno in the apparent improvement navigation-the larger sign. In this situation.amongthose graphicdesigners who have made pedestrianreadingsof deconstructionist literary theory the rationalefor their work. Susann Vihma Arts (Helsinki:Universityof Industrial UIAH. to guidetheir with aninsightthatpeoplelook for familiar products of displaystratmovements. amonggraphic of communication. 1990).fromactionto signs.actions.this haslost some of its initialforce approach in actualdesign practicebecause it has moved into personalidiosyncracyanda searchfor novelty. "What Do We Need Semiotics For?. What works for movementswithin a design profession also andtheirclientsin addressing works for individual spedesigners of a largeretailchainwere puzzled that cific problems.and changingset of placements. relationships designers.a new approach designthinkinghasbegunto or grammatical of comquestionthe essentially linguistic approach munications theory and semiotics by regarding visual communication aspersuasive As thisworkunfolds. second.Forexample. Recently. from signs to action. and 12 .placingthose product. Aftera periodof observing shoppers the concluded thatpeopleoften consultant walkingthroughstores. one might argue that efforts to introduce deconstructionist literary theory into graphicdesignhaveoften led to a loss of freedom and imagination in effective communication. but experimentation must finallybe judgedby relevanceand effectivenessof communication.things. Althoughthis is a minorexample. see Seppo Vakeva. This is evident. that Categorieshavefixed meanings areaccepted withintheframework of a theoryor a philosophy. Based on his approach.the more a designconsultant suggested likelypeoplewereto ignoreit. for example.For a discussionof the limitsof semioticsand design.As a result. the differencebetweena categoryand a placeUnderstanding mentis essentialif designthinkingis to be regarded as morethan a seriesof creativeaccidents.21) Althoughstilla common andusefulway of studying visual communication. it does illustrate repositioningof the design problem:first. in graphic however. terms." Semantic Visions in Design. designer of or in technical or. Finally. 22) Swiss graphicdesignerRuedi Ruegg has recently spoken of the need for more fantasy and freedom in graphicdesign thinking.Thepattern such as those identified diverse. posiproductsthatpeoplearemostlikelyto identifyin prominent a double tions. that the problem should be studiedfrom the perspectiveof the flow of customerexperience.g-2. by signs. rhetorical emphasizing and the content audiences. the graphic introduced emotional colsages. Visual experiis an important mentation partof graphic design thinking. ed. navigateamong differentsections of a store by looking for the most familiarand representative examplesof a particular type of in This a led to change display strategy.contraryto the claims of its proponents.this will shift attenin reaching conclusions tion towardaudiences as activeparticipants of preformed ratherthanpassiverecipients messages. it will likely seek to repositiongraphicdesignwithin the dynamic flow of experience andcommunication. In turn. is foundnot in a set of categories century.
VIII.placementsare sourcesof new ideasandpossibilities when appliedto problemsin 23) The concept of placementswill remain difficult to graspas long as individuals aretrainedto believe that the only path of reasoningbeginswith categoriesand proceeds in deductivechainsof propositions. Designer Jay Doblin sometimes employed a cascade of placementsstemmingfrom the basic Doblin's placement"intrinsic/extrinsic. relevant to the discoveryof specificpossibilities Ideasarethenforcedonto a situation in the rather thandiscovered andnovelpossibilities of thatsituation. But Kuhn's concrete circumstances As an ordered or systematic to the invention of possiapproach bilities. Historians. theory."particularlyin regardto advancesin materialsscience.serve as the basis for analyzingwhat alreadyexists.Other placements are described by Doblin in A Cook Book Approach.I.The mentalmicroscope is for examining"how thingswork. hence.when a designer's placements. become of thinking.but the application to a specifcontextor orientation ic situationcan generatea new perceptionof that situationand. materials. positive consequences are possible. See Ezio Manzini. or criticism are "redesigned" for the individual investigator and sometimes for groups of investigators.and their reasoning is practical because it takes place in situationswhere the resultsare influenced by diverse opinions." "Innovation. A further series of placements fill out the microscope to give it efficacy. Then. Nonetheless. Placements haveboundaries to shapeandconstrain butarenot rigidmeaning. theory. As the discipline of design studies adds a reflective and philosophic dimension to design history. theory. 1989). a repositioning of the problems of design. 26) Thomas Kuhn was interested in the repositioningsthatmarkrevolutionsin scientifictheory. and criticism. has helped to alter the neo-positivist interpretationof the history of science.discovering aspectsof the situationthat affectthe final is as the designer's What design.d. regarded style.) Withdifferent intent. determinate. The doctrine of placements will require further development if it is to be recognized as a tool in design studies and design thinking. Discontent with the results of current design history suggests that new repositionings are called for if the discipline is to retain vitality and relevance to contemporary problems. Ezio Manzini recently argued that the designerneeds two mentalinstruments with opposite qualities to examine a design situation: a microscope and a macroscope. and in the hands of a skilled designer retain their inventive potential. Designers are concerned with inventionas well as judgment. The Materials of Invention: Materials and Design (Cambridge:M. occurs by means of placements. down to the smallest details. perhaps contrary to his initial expectations. 25) The ease with which placements are converted into categoriesshould make any designer or design educator cautious in how they sharethe conceptual tools of their work. a new possibility to be tested.is sometimes morethanjustapersonal for certain forms. n. Therefore. The natural and spontaneous use of placements by designers is Design Issues: Vol.2 lies in a natural or cultivated The inventiveness of the designer and artfulabilityto return to thoseplacements andapplythemto a new situation. the doctrine of placementsprovides a useful means of what many designersdescribeas the intuitiveor understanding oftenposdesigners serendipitous qualityof theirwork. may reconsider the placement of design history as it has been practiced throughout most of the twentieth century and work to discover other innovative possibilities. except at those moments when a new direction for inquiry is opened. such as a change in the subject matter to be addressed." placements serve as a heuristic device to revealthe factors in design thinking andproductdevelopment. reverse holds true gories secondary. 58. preference typesof visual it is a characteristic or techniques.T. The placements thatmightshapean innovative approach for the founder of a school of design thinking often become categories of truthin the handsof disciplesor descendants.Individual sessapersonal setof placements. Press. The of a boundary placementgives a ly fixed and to thinking. the methods to be employed.placements are The for design history. history.then. such placementsareclassic features of design thinking. but it can also be a surprisingly precise way of addressing conceptual space and the non-dimensional images from which con28 crete possibilities emerge for testing in objective circumstances. and criticism. or the principles to be explored. Number 2 Spring 1992 13 .(Typewritten. for example. At such times.5 particularities For the practicing areprimaryand catedesigner. andtested developed by experience. His study of this phenomenon. way of seeingpossibilities throughconceptual However. 24) Some placementshavebecome so common in twentieth-century design that they hardly attract attention. the resultcan conceptual placements categories be mannered imitationsof an earlierinventionthat are no longer in a new situation.
14 shifts"were neverdevel"paradigm anexplicitunderstanding of the doctrineof placeevident. However. Although remote of designfromtheimmediate interests ers.such an artwill enableindividuals to SeeChaimPerelman and placements. as philosophy of design of thesubject matter cussion forthhistory.Chaim Perelman hasdeveloped an of the framework basedin signs. because the problems R."Architectural the most significant directly related to the content of the of the Models reasons. Members of the scientific community. The Uses of Argument University indicationthat designis not merelya technical (Cambridge: Cambridge but specialization fora modern of Press..1958) discovery a new liberal art. bytheNational The problem of communication between scientists and designScience Foundation. must be puzthe humanalso include This list could zled by the types of problems addressed by professional designers 29) andthefinearts.Spillers. because istic disciplines in commu.On one hand. chemistry.Basic 30)William Questions addressed by designers seldom fall solely within the boundaries of North of Design (Amsterdam: Theory HollandPublishing 1974). whicharebasedon thetheoryof topAll men and women requirea liberalart of designto live well ics. things. Olbrechts-Tyteca. any one of these subject matters. of conceptual (e. They are drawn together because they share a mutual interest in a common theme: the conception and planning of the artificial. .hierar.3-20. Seealso. The abilityof designers to discover E.if not on aspects of design bearing important thelogicof decision always systematic.30 This conference was interesting for several New 31) VladimerBazjanac. actions." Studies: Subject DesignStudies. Thiswouldrepodesigners sition design history from material objects or "things"to thought and action. DamePress. Theory. biology. dialecticaltopics. tableform)thatmayaidinvention. the historyof theirart Fora disandpractice.the wit to discover what is useful in each other's work and can cast placements chical. York in 1974. already roots opedto theirfullestintellectual will ments make it an element of in rhetorical anddialectical important designas a liberalart. ed. however. the participants.found in physics.and by the patterns of reasoning they employ. 27)In order attention shouldbe givento the various conceptionsof design held by in thepast.3 the "wicked meeting more to solvesuchproblems.including in Simon's The as an integrative discussed making discipline. a common methodology. Communication is possible at such meetings because the results of researchand discussion. was held at Columbia ers was evident in a special conference on design theory held in University. The New participate On the other.theseworksarecitedbecause they The WickedProblemsTheory of Design andhave Recent conferenceson dealwithpractical reasoning design are evidenceof a coherent. Reviewed in one of the initial papers.things. new and relationships among signs.Stephen 1969). thoughts is one Toulmin. ticular. are always connected by this theme and.ingly come from diverse professions and academic disciplines. or even a common set of objects to which everyone agrees that the term "design" should be applied. the social sciinthepersistent viewthatdesign ply a decorativeart. in more this framework and its contribute to directly L. of course. or one of the many subfields into which these sciences have of thefineartsto utilitarian principles been divided. as Thisis evident andscientists." itself.professional couldbe regardA Treatise on Argumentation development.horizontal. This creates one of the central problems of comends. funded Theconference. invention. DesignTheory: Design BasicQuestionsof Design Process. mathematics.g. if individuals have to thevarious schematizations supplemental. Rhetoric: designers (Notre Dame:Universityof Notre ed as masters in its exploration. each a concrete exploration of what is possible in the development of its meanings and implications.see VictorMargolin's coming "DesignHistory or Design Matter andMethods. are not drawn together because they share a common definition of design.heldby manyhumanists.who increasSciences of theArtificial.actions.or in matrixand the material in terms of their own vision of design thinking. a common philosophy. effort to reach a clearerunderstandingof design theory. created refers to allimages aspartof designthinking and. despite wide differences in intellectual and practical "non-dimensional 28)Thephrase images" in themind perspectives. adaptingthe ences.whatdesignerssayanddo. While scientists thereis as muchdifficulty traditional share in the new liberal art of design thinking. to in the complexity approach important contemporary what is called here the doctrine of andthoughts.in parThis is only possible. therefore. they are also massome between nicating as between and designers humanists ters of specialized subject matters and their related methods. designers is sim. Company. munication between scientists and designers. Different definitions of design and different specifications of the methodology of design are variations of this broad theme.In otherwords.
thinking making process. wicked-problems approach suggeststhat thereis a in allbutthemosttrivial fundamental indeterminacy design probDesign Issues: Vol.32) Graph theory.I.it is possible to see in graphtheory. who died in 1990. and.3A mathematician. Thewickedproblems was formulated approach by HorstRittel in the 1960s. "Schemata" arethe connectinglink. design process. where ill-formulated. Whether or not Harary made such a suggestion. solution Problem is a synthetic in which sequence thevarious arecombined andbalanced each requirements against a final intoproduction. the problems addressed in do actual not. the theory of directed graphs.3 significant difficulty of theparticipants hadin understanding eachother. andwheretheramifications in thewholesystemarethoroughly Thisis an amusing of whatconfronts confusing. an Although of themeeting. see J. developed by the mathematicianFrankHarary. 1981). andsynthesis yieldto anylinear analysis yetproposed. renamed the DMG-DRS Journal: Design Research and Methods. and former teacher at the designer. Problem problem definition analytic sequence inwhich allof theelements thedesigner determines of theproblem andspecifies allof therequirements thata successful soludesign tionmusthave. sequence and decision isnotasimple linear and two. and then renamedin 1976 and published to the present as Design Methods and Theories.thattoday continuesto publish the journal Design Studies. 1990).continue attractive. VIII. Cartwright. Press." suggested that the basic structure of design theory could be found in his work on structural models.T. 1965. For more on graph theory see F."37 description in new situation. Thedesigner's task istoidentify thoseconditions andthencalculate a solution. quick point two obviouspointsof weakness: the actual of design one. modelof thedesign step-by-step process being and theorists. Thelinear model of design is based on determinate thinking problems which have definite conditions. Number 2 Spring 1992 15 . As described in thefirstpublished of report Rittel's are a "class of social idea.completed his careerby teaching at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Stuttgart. Parallel interest in the United States led to the establishment of the Design Methods Group in 1966. pendent designer.also servedto connect the work of researchers in manyareas. R. sucha modelmayappear attractive because it a in that its indesuggests methodological precision is.and schemataareforms of graphs. Design Methods: Seeds of Human Futures (1970. for placementsmay be schematizedas figuresof thought. wickedproblems system problems which are where theinformation is confusing. other. 1965). with furthersignificancefor the view of design as a new liberal art. However. keyfeatures. rpt New York: John Wiley & Sons. which published the DMG Newsletter (1966-71). Comparison may establish a surprisingconnection between the arts of words and the mathematicalarts of things. Harary. there aremany clients anddecision makers withconflicting values. using placementsto discover new possibilities. notably. In conprecisely the trast. Norman. yielding planto be carried In theabstract. Structural Models: An Introductionto the Theory of Directed Graphs (New York: Wiley. Christopher Jones. 33) A series of conferences on Design Methods held in the United Kingdom in 1962.For a briefbiosketch. who attended this conference and delivered the paper "Graphs as Designs. and 1967. whendesign wasa subject of intense methodology interest. to beoneofthecentral to design themes approach proved problems" aconnection to which theparticipants oftenreturned whenseeking andseemingly between theirremarkably diverse incommensurate of Also was the that most applicationsdesign. 34) Rittel. led to the formation of the Design ResearchSociety in 1967. they all can be interpreted as techniques for repositioning design problems. For one attempt to describe and integratea set of methods used in design thinking. believing that it represents theonlyhopefora "logical" of the understanding some critics were to out However. and D. it is an observation of anoutsider on thedynamics excellent of a "wicked of design example problem" thinking. designto findtheideaof a linear model ers.see HerbertLindinger. by designers practice.3 there explored by many designers design Although aremany variations of thelinear its hold that the model. a mathematical expression of the doctrine of placements. scientists and business as well as some many professionals. directed or otherwise. Rittel thatmostof theproblems addressed argued by designers arewickedproblems. toward a fundamental issuethatliesbehind the practice: relationandindeterminacy in design shipbetween determinacy thinking. But most it points designers every important.It was reportedby the organizers that Harary.Many of the methodsJones presentsareconsciously transposed from other disciplines. Hochschule furGestaltung Rittel an alterna(HfG)Ulm. fromtheperspective of the individual In fact. 274. sought tiveto thelinear. proponents is divided intotwodistinct design process phases: problem definitionand is an solution. graphical Ulm Design: The Morality of Objects (Cambridge:M.
"Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning.the designer must discover or invent aparticular subject out of the problems and issues of specific circumstances. Rittel is another exampleof someone initiallyinfluenced by neo-positivistideaswho. and it is tempting to go no further than elaborate the meaning of each property. with no room for trial and error. (3) Solutions to wickedproblems cannot be true or false. To understand whatthismeans. because design thinking may be applied to any areaof human experience." Management Science. 41) Rittel's example is drawn from architecture. Rittel developed the idea in a different direction. 14. Webber." Design MethodsGroup 5th Anniversary 1972). University of California. B-141-42.the "wickedness" beentakenout to yield determinate or analytic already problems. West Churchman. "Wicked Problems.to terminate a weak design. 37) The first published report of Rittel's concept of wicked problems was presented by C. the answer to the question lies in something rarely considered:the peculiarnatureof the subjectmatterof design. The subjectmatterof design is potentially universalin scope. This is a remarkablelist." working paper presentedat the Instituteof Urban and Regional Development." problem.Rittel Bedriftsokonomen. But to do so would leave a fundamentalquestion unanswered. 39) Weltanschauungidentifiesthe intellectual perspective of the designer as an integralpart of the design process." no. This sharply contrasts with the disciplines of science.35) Bazjanacpresents an interesting comparisonof linearmodels and the wicked problems approach. therefore. "Son of Rittelthink. see RichardBuchanan. But in the process of application. indeterminacy quitedifferent Indeterminacy impliesthat thereareno definitiveconditionsor limits to design problems.in the ten propertiesof wickedproblemsthat Rittel initiallyidentifiedin 1972.or structures ject matters. no. However. (10) The wicked problem solver has no right to be wrong-they are fully responsible for their actions.for example. as Rittel suggests. Such subject matters are undetermined or 16 . For a brief illustration of entrapment in the product development process of a small midwestern company. Perhapsthe general property should be described as in a line of design think"entrapment" ing. (December 1967). but every formulation of a wickedproblem corresponds to the formulation of a solution. for good or bad reasons. 8:390-96. it is important to recognize that is fromundetermined. only good or bad. 36) The phrasewicked problems was borrowed from philosopher KarlPopper. 1991). 40) This property suggests the systems aspect of Rittel's approach. Designers as well as theirclients or managers are often "entrapped"during the development phase of a new product and are unable. those studying wicked problems has attemptedto answer this queshas remained tion." Innovation (Summer. has lems-problems where.This is evident. sought to develop a new approachrelatedto rhetoric. "On the Planning Crisis: Systems Analysis of the First and Second Generations.Berkeley. (5) For every wicked problem there is always more than one possible explanation. with explanations depending on the Weltanschauung of the designer.39 (6) Every wicked problem is a symptom of another. November 1972. so the wicked-problems approach only a description of the social reality of designing ratherthan the beginnings of a wellgrounded theory of design. See also an interview with Rittel. vol. thatarenecessarilyembodiedin existingsublaws. J.whereit is not feasibleto rebuild a flawed building. graduallyadded more propertiesto his initial list."WickedProblems: Managing the Entrapment Trap. (4) In solving wickedproblems there is no exhaustivelist of admissible operations. "higher level. 38) See Horst W. providing concrete examples drawn from every area of design thinking. 10:3. Whyare designproblems indeterminate wicked?Neither Rittel nor any of and.0 (7) No formulation and solution of a wicked problem has a definitive test. However. and Horst Rittel.Design problems are "indeterminate"and "wicked" because design has no specialsubjectmatterof its own apartfrom what a designerconceives it to be.4 (9) Every wicked problem is unique. His editorial is particularlyinterestingfor its discussionof the moralproblemsof design and planning that can occur when individuals mistakenlybelievethatthey haveeffectively taken the "wickedness" out of design problems. (2) Wickedproblems have no stopping rules. which are concerned with understanding the principles. rules. Rittel and Melvin M. when confronted with the actual processes of practicalreasoningin concretecircumstances. Report January 5-10. 4. (1) Wicked problemshave no definitiveformulation. (8) Solving a wickedproblem is a "one shot" operation.
in the of design constitute sciences do notandcannot philosophies Thereason for or humanistic science. VIII. someone hasattempted to take the"wickedness" designed. thedesigner "natural. concerned with the thisis simple: is particudesign fundamentally isnoscience lar." DesignIssues VII-1 (Fall. Placements arethetoolsby whicha designer or deliberately a design situaintuitively shapes the issueswhich the viewsof all participants. They designer position repositiontheproblems andissuesathand. Ambaz. tion.Evenin thissituation. perspective. reflected on their that have to the discipline. "Metaphors.4 comparable intwowaysontwolevmatter conceive their subject Designers forms an On ageneral andparticular. ningaparticular isonthe forthescientist Indeterminacy while thesublevel of second-intention. in terms of shiftsareusually described the designer's or "cir"personality" than thecontinued rather cumstances. more radically they fully of to that a waydirectly design. investigation requiring in not indeterminate But are determinate. tenuously existing problems issues of specific circumstances. intheshifts little that occur intelligibility whena designer moves. designers. indeterminacy belongsto both firstandsecond-intention. hypotheses of scientists invariablyreflect on distinctive perspectives philosophic of whatconstitutes andinterpretations Thisis a nature andnatural processes." most of designandthe proper Indeed. 1990):78-84.at the level of inthemandeterminate first-intention. theconception of particular however. social. It is notanundetermined subject waiting to bemade andconcrete. quasi-subject to be made determinate. methods. corporate thecritical taskof transforming and issues into a workproblems about the features of the to be product inghypothesis particular Ineffect. begins aquasi-subject within the and matter.while designers properties andplanconcerned with conceiving thatdoesnotyetexist. degree they on a general levelwhatthe if not insistently. Outof thespecific of possibilities a design a concrete thedesigner mustconceive thatwill situation. els:general level. Whendeveloped andwellpresented. and Emilio seeRichard Buchanan. by nature holds a broad view of the Inthissense." Even from this are conscientists however.for example." of a coherent intellectual development on theartificial. Theyprovide thatexistwithin a plurality of alternative andexplore the essential framework foreach tounderstand designer such and of But materials. esisforexploration anddevelopment. theuniversal withunderstanding cerned are ofwhat is. fromdesigning domestic to products Such graphic designor architecture. Thisiswhere takeonspecial astoolsof placements significance allow the to and design thinking. out.presents design in resolving In anda set of issuesto be considered thatproblem. ner described.inwhich eventhesubisonecase 42)There ject matters of the sciences are Theworking indeterminate. to include 44)Failure professional designersas earlyaspossiblein theproduct developmentprocess is one of the sourcesof entrapment in corporate should culture.a designer of products or the about thenature ideaor a working hypothesis view in theworld. anindeterminate subject waiting specific Forexample. aclient's brief doesnotpresent adefinition of thesubmatter of a It aproblem ject particular application. in accounting forthesurprising factor of philosophies pracamong pluralism thateven andsuggests ticingscientists of is shaped science by an application developed alongthe designthinking. in andFables Narratives. executive. conof different 43)Fora briefdiscussion of subject matter on thislevel ceptions heldby three designers. will gladly. of whatis meant. Number 2 Spring 1992 17 . senseof anynatural. For the designer. scopeof its application. Thisis thedesigner's nature of thehumanmade the "artificial" in relation to the forexample. Professional designers fortheirabilityto conbe recognized ceiveproducts as well as planthem. linesof Dewey'snotionof "intentional operations. Without adesigner's viewof subunderstanding is on thegeneral there jectmatter level. ject matterremains. explain is. contemporary Ezio Manzini. identifying willserve concern and theinvention that asaworking them. Inactual withwhat should becalled thedesigner practice. features remains a that be to change only possibility may subject throughdiscussionandargument. A leadto thisor thatparticular matter is product. hypothInthissense.andthere of theparticular. perspective to makethem further under-determined. it oftendoes so because an ormanager hasattempted to perform owner. matter of design subject of design or these are explanations philosophies proto-philosophies an views. New Design Thinking. theplacements selected arethe sameas whatdeterminate subject by a designer Design Issues: Vol.GaetanoPesce. in great situations wherea briefspecifies detail theparticular featuresof the product to be planned. principles designthinking.
how suchknowlknowledge determining in be useful to a circumstance edgemay designthinking particular withoutimmediately to one or another of thesedisreducing design ciplines. maycontribute are largelyanalytic. the designerestablishesa principleof relevancefor fromtheartsandsciences." However. When thinking. the working hypothesis that will lead to a productis the principleof relevance." thenatural Simon." plesof poeticanalysis. activity production designthinking become it indeed is and planned. This is Sciencesof the Artificial. in mindwhen he speaks bothfromthe. designer working hypothesissuitedto specialcircumstances. guidingthe efforts particular of designersto gatherall available knowledgebearingon how a productis finallyplanned. of wickedproblems. a productandmaking probut also designing of everyday features objects. that he that cedures anddecision-making of analysis or discipline a method proposesfor design protocols to designthinking. sociology. an objectfor study by any of the artsand sciences-history. nomics.4 But all studies. may product conceived. or principle of releBut does the designer's workinghypothesis matter? vancesuggestthattheproductitselfis a determinate subject between involvesa critical butoftenblurred distinction Theanswer of or Once a and the making. discusses Aristotle frequently particular. Few sciIn Simon's this about the "doctrine sense. an inventivescienceof designthinktwo sciencesof the artificial: 57.Thisis a synthetic not related to indeterminacy. Thishelpsto explainhow designfunctionsas anintegrative disto discover or invent a cipline. ence or the scienceof the artificial. that scienceof production an objectfor studyby a new humanistic directed towardunderof the artificial. generic thiswork Poetics.They arethe quasi-subject matterof from which the fashions a design thinking. "devising oretic and practicalsciences.Simonappears lawswithinit and determinate in artifacts. thenatural between The lawswithout.anduses of humanmade productsin all standing of thisscienceis of their 45) The earliest example activities of design in such the kinds. is used theGreekwordfor "making. of "Ihaveshownthata science reality: maybe in human explorethe essenceof whattheartificial artificial phenomena is always in designers imminentdangerof dissolvingand experience. "Poetics." we couldcallthe "science the nature.thinking theanalysis toward is directed is to conceive and fordesigners Theproblem ary productions and tragedy in thatis finally produced. goals"or. activity of The peculiar properties vanishing. Simon." or inventive This is the creative activitythatHerbertSimonhas scito productive to refer by Aristotle What of designas a scienceof the artificial. in of the indethe context and this occurs what does not yet exist. produced. form. more in laws natural what is undetermined of an activity making the artifactlie on the thin interface to haveconflated In short. Consequently. ecoIt mayevenbecome or anthropology. that have design process. psychology.plan from terminacy beforethe finalresultis known.shapedby his philosophicview of the deterartifacts. EmilioAmbaz technology as a systematicdisciplineof experimental andarchitect designer of refers to the"poetics thepragmatic. In effect. face" created within a materialist natural he does not capturethe radicalsense in which processes.mattersarefor the scientist. lawsthatsurround minacies thatfollow fromthe natural of the The Sciences Artificial. By using placements working hypothesis."4 investigators recognized poetto thestudy ence of the artificial canbeextended icanalysis is perhapscloser to what Dewey meansby of making "useful"objects. 46) 52-53. Simon has little to say about the differencebetween or elegant not only esthetic he means the "search" it. usefulobjectsin termsof the princi. as the artificial For all of the insightSimonhasin distinguishing created from different of humanmade a domain objects by is an"interthe"artificial" products 47)ForSimon.he meansis whichhe distinguishes more to attain artifacts broadly. ing which has no subject matter aside from what the designer 18 . Aristotle's Although kind of are reduced to the or areeasilyforgotten product of liter.
indeterminacy in somesensealready eryof solutions thinkonthenature of design indesign itsimpact and matter known ratherthan the inventionof subject into sciences that have come each of the As a solutionsyet unknown. Studies. history conhasinteresting Thispaper 305-25.Simondeservesless critithinkrather than itsformasa discipline ofsystematic thisconnection of itsproduct cismfor overlooking who havebeenamaz. Philosophy: Bulgaria.Buchanan To art had its own or technologia systematic discipline. and members because fineart. of the XVth World Congress of in newways. conandtheconcrete heldby designers matter objects nections with the doctrine of of subject becauseplacements may ceived. deliberations of to and their efforts designers integrate knowledge inProceedings andHistory. Design Issues: Vol. threatening in an culture when was a time earlier of Western period technology of suchreflection is the 50) One example theliberal arts. Margolin andheldattheUniversity or of the that was to liberal in 1990. to understand efforts StructuredProblems. Center. One those placements as of and planned. byindividual designers in thetwentieth or another of its major thematic variations cenone expressionof the positivist or empiricistphilosophy that guides Simon's theoryof design." conference interdisciplinary "Discovering wasa human activity throughout Every operating and liberal Design. difficulty community inwords-prefigures theissues formed the studyof the artifithatsurround cialin allothertypesof usefulobjects.sess of Illinois at Chicago possess technology discipline thinking willbe art. "applied" regarded followedfromAristotle. 1973 (Sofia: Sofia Press sense.ing. Theyseein adequate sionof its own knowledge. thanhumanists as and with machines. Thehistory of design its nature. Reidel. 1974). methods." practice.humanmade of existing it to be. ing. inDesign Explorations for everynew product. of the inglyneglectful.1977). out of human that machines of our culture often concern the appear rise of designand technologyin the twentieth rather liberate. and Simon is particularly with the roleof long-term of thedesign concerned to be whattheyconceive viewsregarding historians' insolving ill-structured prob. designers of literary production-the artificial of thescientific often have communicating. September is emerging as a newdiscipline of practical reasondesign 17-22. rialandbehavioral of a wicked theequivalent 48)ForSimon. Number 2 Spring 1992 19 . is not Discovery(Boston: views the a of of It is a changing merely history objects. But eral technological WhenAristotle comesto disrhetoric."Models of andclouds D. the reflecting McKeon.recurring of theartificial that rhetorical analysis social as "applied" natural science. subject lems. supple Design remarkably probproblemis an "ill-structured But as in as well in on how views For Simon's lem. Theyregard technology things observing if not scornful.The Sciences 49) AlthoughSimon's andprinciples. to behuman. 51)Richard "Logos: Technology. of in reflection on the nature their work individual and of in cussthe thought thatis presented designers an artificial objectsuchas a tragedy. Thecol.anda science conceives products of mateis a to believe Simon whosenature manipulation happens 49 lawsof nature.Simonseemsunaware humanistictraditionof poetic and ter.the memory matter of design. Butthere totrap and enslave than century. forthefullestelaboration in terms continue of technology Mostpeople to think However. views.This is not alternately thestudy science. posV. work. andto befreeinseeking one's place published as Discovering Design: in theplan also has a and it is manifested Design technologia. philosophy interpretations ly different ill-structured problems may be oftenleadsto popular of design theflexibility misunderstanding of Illsee "TheStructure addressed. control. consequence. VIII. verto as an has tended with contact design "applied" regard design title. produced expressions andstorememobe usedto organize is a record the and that could history history ofdesign gofurther say ries. Theplanis an argument." organized byR.In this Varna. But Simon'smethodsare still of thepeculiar directed towardthe discovWehavebeenslowto recognize analytic. is aperfectly of theArtificial. in whichdesign is situation we havetheodd. DesignandTechnology the Many inestablishing asalibAristotlecarefully remain to beexplored distinguished design problems fromtheartof science of theartificial in the as it continues to unfold art of culture.suited to specific circumstances andneeds.No wonder anantiquarian or "applied" issue. from this conference lected papers intheworld. ingandargumentation.Thus. to radicalamenable a is discipline." Philology. toward directed one Production 3:481-84.0 of theterm is slowlyrestoring thericher meaning design to his he pointedlyrefersthe reader thatwasallbutlost withthe riseof the Industrial artof rhetoric "technology" treatise on theinventive of theissue. translation of whatwe havecometo andtreat asa matter of their ownsubject aninstance design design asAristotle's culture knowinWestern of that matthe of scientific demonstration subject principles of the practical Poetics. Revolution.
things. A. and the desire and ability of human beings to use products in everyday life in ways that reflect personal and social values. Students reportthat late in his careerRittel came to recognize the affinity between his approachand rhetoric. three-dimensional model. For new developments in marketing.industrialdesign. or theory and practice that remains a source of disruption and confusion in contemporary culture. toward the impossibility of rigid boundaries between industrial design. while marketing tends to stress what is contingent in the changing attitudes and preferences of potential users. 1988). engineering. Differences of modality may be complementary ways of arguing-reciprocal expressions of what conditions and shapes the "useful" in human experience. Dholakia. three of the most important professions of design thinking are often regardedas bitter opponents in the design enterprise. Because of these modal differences in approaching design problems. or other product proposal is an example of such argumentation. P. or humanistic)for adequatesolutions to what are the inherentlywickedproblems of design thinking. graph. Effective design depends on the ability of designers to integrate all three lines of reasoning.see Philip Kotler.This argument is a synthesis of three lines of reasoning:the ideas of designers and manufacturersabout their products. structures. and systems. Every designer's sketch. for example. see Rittel and Webber. yet their arguments are often framed in sharply different logical modalities. Appearance must carry a deeper. but as bad marketing. However. Invention and Evolution: Design in Nature and Engineering (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. actions. French. strategic planning. 19. see M. and thoughts. But not as isolated factors that can be added together in a simple mathematical total. design points toward a new attitude about the appearanceof products. flow chart. or as isolated subject matters that can be studied separately and joined late in the product development process.5 The power of design as deliberation and lies in overcoming the limitations of mereverbalor argument symbolic argument-the separation of words and things.and marketingeach employ the discipline of design thinking. the internationally recognized expert on marketing. "Humanistic Marketing: Beyond the Marketing Concept. irreconcilably distant from each other." Philosophical and Radical Thought in Marketing. Fuat Firat. and R. Argument in design thinking moves toward the concrete interplay and interconnection of signs.52) For Rittel's view of argumentationin design.social. tury: design as communication. For example. Dilemmas. 54) Philip Kotler.4 What design as a liberal art contributes to this situation is a new awareness of how argument is the central theme that cuts across the many technical methodologies employed in each design profession. Finally. As a liberal art of technological culture. and marketing.N. Bagozzi (Lexington. there is persistentconfusion about the differentmodes of argumentationemployed by the various design professions. Also discussed in "Architectural Bazjanac. construction.Massachusetts: Lexington Books. J. has suggested that what many industrial designersobjectto in marketingshould not be regardedas marketingitself. Industrial design tends to stress what is possible in the conception and planning of products. or systemic integration. For a useful introduction to engineering design." Basic Questions of Design Theory. The new liberal art of design thinking is turning to the modality of impossibility. engineering tends to stress what is necessary in considering materials.It points. 1987). engineering. It points toward the impossibility of relying on any one of the sciences (natural. DesignTheory: Models of the Design Process. integrative argument about the natureof the artificialin human experience. mechanisms. 20 . 53) The necessary is sometimes referred or "capability" in engito as "capacity" neering. blueprint. eds. the internal operational logic of products.
thatwhatmany call of imagpeople "impossible" mayactually only be a limitation inationthatcanbe overcomeby betterdesignthinking. Neoteric arts are arts of "new learning. see Richard Buchanan. CA." Papers: The 1990 Conference on Design Education.not only in its external cipline today-is changing manifestations but in its internalcharacter. 55) "Neoteric" is a term often associated in Western culturewith the emergence of new liberal arts. Design Issues: Vol. But the masters of this new liberalart arepractical men andwomen. Thisis not thinkingdirectedtowarda technological "quickfix" in hardware but towardnew integrations of signs. "Design as a Liberal Art.things. Number 2 Spring 1992 21 . 1990). VIII.it pointstowardsomething thatis oftenforgotten. and the disof thinking thattheyemployis gradually accessible cipline becoming to all individuals in everydaylife." For a discussion of neoteric and paleoteric liberal arts.andenvironmentsthataddress the concreteneedsandvaluesof humanbeings in diverse circumstances. A commondisciplineof design thinking-more thanthe particular productscreatedby that disour culture. Individuals trained in the traditional artsandsciencesmaycontinueto be puzzledby the neotericartof design.actions. Education Committee of the Industrial Designers Society of America (Pasadena.
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