Defining Design
Andrea Peach
Stage 1
Contextual & Critical Studies
Definitions of Design
The meaning of the word “design”
is much contested
… as is … the definition of “designer”
The shorter Oxford English dictionary
v. to mark out; to plan, purpose,
intend …
n. a plan conceived in the mind, of
something to be done …
n. adaptation of means to end …
Renaissance = drawing
Alec Issigonis Morris Minor 1000 - 1962
19th Century ’Design’
replaced with ‘industrial art’ ‘decorative
art’ or ‘applied art’
South Kensington Museum 1864
20th Century
‘Design’ re-established
Norman Bel Geddes - ‘Futurama’ 1939 World’s Fair
Horatio Greenough
American Sculptor 1739
Form follows function …
Louis Sullivan
American Architect 1896
Form and function are one …
David Pye
The Nature of Design 1964
The art of design, which chooses
that the things we use shall look as
they do, has a very much wider
and more sustained impact than
any other art. Everyone is exposed
to it all day long. Indeed, in towns
there is hardly anything in sight
except what has been designed.
The man-made world, our
environment, is a work of art, all
of it, every bit of it. But not all
David Pye
The Nature of Design 1964
6 Requirements of Design:
1.It must correctly embody the
essential principle of
2.The components of the device
must be geometrically related
3.The components must be
strong enough to transmit and
resist process as the intended
David Pye
The Nature of Design 1964
6 Requirements of Design:
4.Access must to provided (as
relates to 2)
5.The cost of the result must be
6. The appearance must be
Victor Papanek
Design for the Real World 1970 (1995)
“Design is the conscious and
intuitive effort to impose meaningful
Victor Papanek
Design for the Real World 1970 (1995)
All men are designers. All that we do,
almost all the time, is design, for
design is basic to all human activity.
The planning and patterning of any act
toward a desired, foreseeable end
constitutes the design process. Any
attempt to separate design to make it
a thing by itself, works counter to the
fact that design is the primary
underlying matrix of life.
Design has become a range of
goods, services, shaped by the
intervention of ‘the designer’
no longer refers to ordinary objects
Pierre Bourdieu
Distinction - A Social Critique of the Judgment of
Taste 1984
Cultural Capital:
The ability to make distinctions
between “cultivated” and “vulgar”
Ron Arad
Fantastic Plastic Elastic 1997
Penny Sparke
Design Pioneers of the 20th Century - 1998
‘What are increasingly
produced are not
material objects, but
Camouflage sniper’s gloves - 1917
Definitions of Design
Meanings of design are many and
shift according to the context in
which the word is used
Guy Julier
The Culture of Design - 2000
Design is Interdisciplinary
Designers work with: product
managers, researchers,
marketing specialists, advertising
agents, public relations
Traditional demarcations
between disciplines (graphic,
product, interior) have blurred
Mike Press
The Design Experience 2003
Designer as Cultural
“A designer makes their own
definition of what it is to be a
designer and how to use
distinctive skills, knowledge and
thinking of design to find a
place in the world. This is
particularly true in today’s age
of the knowledge economy.”
Definitions of Design
The meaning of the word “design”
is much contested
… as is … the definition of “designer”
Hella Jongerius
a conversation that might have taken
Louise: How wide is the scope of design,
actually? Does design count for something
in society or does it operate only on the
fringes of the cultural landscape?
Hella Jongerius
Hella: It has to be about something.
Commitment is crucial. Mass-production
industry has been ruining the market with
superfluous design products for far too
long. I think designers have a role in this
respect. We can do more than supply
industry with original ideas; we could have
a wider social responsibility
Hella Jongerius
Hella: Designers have played a
considerable part in creating the consumer
society, so it would do us credit to instigate
a new, more caring way of thinking about
Andrea Möller
Droog Design
‘Bolle Box’ 1994
Marti Guixé
Droog Design
‘Oranienbaum candy’
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