At the moment we have a professor from the Maastricht University embedded in our design studio. He is studying designers in the wild like an anthropologist would study an unknown tribe in Africa. One of the subjects of his research is the design process. I always found this an interesting topic and this is what led me to Chimero’s book: it speaks about the design process from a designer's point of view. His insider's view is a feast of recognition.
What stuck with me the most about his description of the design process is the idea of clear thinking. Chimero has an interesting description of the way he works: he just “shows up” and lets the “context speak what it requires”. He says “it’s the designer's job to figure out a way to have the problem show it’s actual self so he can respond to the truth that has emerged.” This is clear thinking: to see the truth about the problem at hand.
When we start asking why and start thinking about truth we enter into the domain of philosophy. I have always seen design (and other arts) as a visual form of philosophy. One that is more elaborate than traditional philosophy because it not only thinks through words but also through images. Some might call this particular form of philosophy design thinking. When we define design as a branch of philosophy, the next step is to question some of the great thinkers of this world to see what they have to say about design. For me, there are two philosophical texts by Martin Heidegger that define good design.
There’s a clear story here. Adding a buffer to a model says this model isn’t perfect, but there’s a science to how we manage the downside of assumptions or variability in the data.
Just like art, design is in constant need of definition. I think the answer to the question of what good design is, defines the designer. So, design is about asking why (so it’s basically philosophy), web design’s aim is to find the truth about the client, the user, and the internet, the truth is best communicated through beauty, to find the truth about your medium you have to forge a deep connection to it
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