Harold G. Nelson’s Design Workshop, The Design Way: tertium quid, October 17-21

Lecture room 4319 every morning at 10:00!

1. Objectives of the course

The objective of this course is to initiate a dialogue with graduate students based on the conjecture that design is a tradition of inquiry and action that shares many attributes with science and art but is not a median point between them or an applied version of either. It is proposed that design is its own intellectual and professional tradition with its own postulates, forms of logic and modes of inquiry. The intention is to explore the consequences of such a postulation in order to build a schema of design scholarship and praxis. The foundations, fundamentals and metaphysical thinking that inform this dialogue are based on the ideas presented in the book— The Design Way by Nelson & Stolterman, 2nd edition, to be published by MIT Press in 2012. The students will be asked to develop their own design schemas in support of their professional or research interests in design.

2. General description of the topics covered

Topics to be covered include (from table of contents for The Design Way, 2nd Edition):

Prelude; Creating a Culture of Design & a Design Culture

I. The First Tradition; Design Postulates & Context

II. Foundations of Design

1. The Particular; Ultimate Particular Things

2. Service; Design Agency

3. Systemics; The Logic of Design

4. The Whole: Composition & Emergence

III. Fundamentals in Design

5. Desiderata; Design Intention

6. Interpretation and Measurement in Design

7. Imagination and Design Communication

8. Judgment as Design Decision Making

9. Composing & Connecting; Ordering & Organizing

10. Production & Care Taking; Design Skill & Mastery

IV. Metaphysics of Design

11. The Evil of Design

12. The Splendor of Design; Function & Ensoulment

13. The Guarantor-of-Design (g.o.d.); The Guarantor-of-Destiny (G.O.D)

V. A Drawing Together of Foundations & Fundamentals

14. Becoming a Designer; Design Scholarship & Education

15. Being a Designer; Design Praxis

Forward; Inferences for the Future

3. Learning outcomes

Students will acquire a broader and deeper understanding of design as a culture of inquiry for intentional change. Through readings and discussions, students will gain insight into an approach to seminal design issues that emerge as design expands beyond its normative boundaries of the material design culture. They will participate in a design dialogue as part of a collective, scholarly inquiry focused on academic approaches to the field of design. Students will develop their own schemas for design scholarship and practice, in relationship to their own professional interests or research

4. Recommended literature and resources

• Draft text of The Design Way; 2nd Edition

• Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePfZeLCwc6U

Detailed schedule here:


Sign up: heikki.nuutinen@hnd.fi

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