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  Identifying the limits of design


Products enable people to intervene in the world more effectively than without them or using previous versions. The value of a well designed product is self-evident. A product is born of much more than what a designer or a design process brings to the table. A designer shapes content made available from a number of sources that do not require design.

There is no reason to assume that only designers 'design' or are seen as the only qualified people to design things. Chances are that they have a more effective relationship with design terms and are therefore in a position to design things better than anyone else. Design is a term most useful in the context of an experience that requires shaping.

It is not difficult to point out instances where design has nothing to do with a 'Creative Problem Solving Process'. Design is often brought to bear on content generated in a creative act. Design is not required to think creatively.

Scientists, mathematicians, politicians and pastors do not require design to solve their problems. And they are highly unlikely to use the term 'design' or think in design terms. Challenging convention is part of a creative act. Material not previously identified is all that is required to constitute a creative act. No design is required to generate material.

The material proposed via 'Design is Fundamental' operates on too many assumptions, all of which fail with little effort. The proposed material does not adequately address issues of content in relation to the world, how as human beings we experience content and what part design plays in handling content.

Design qualified as a form-giving activity is difficult to make fail. I value design for this singular reason and on this basis call myself a designer. I cannot think of a better way to introduce a form-giving activity other than as design.

Design has a very specific role to play in how we make our way in the world. On this basis I would agree that design is a fundamental human process but I wouldn't be so confident as to offer it as a singular process enmeshed in every human activity and appropriate in every instance.


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