Michl, J. On Seeing Design as Redesign: An Exploration of a Neglected Problem in Design Education. Scandinavian Journal of Design History 12, 2002: 7-23.

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Michl argues that there is something fundamentally wrong in word/concept of ‘design’. According to him, the term ‘design’ emphasizes design activity as a creative action of a individual to create something new from scratch. This perspective is very naive. Nothing we do starts from scratch nor is immediately finished. Creating something new is a slow and usually iterative process of improving earlier products and solutions and thus Michl suggests that the word ‘redesign’ should be used in education and academic context instead of plain design. Michl does not suggest getting rid of design but to have both design and redesign side by side on our vocabulary.

The article consists of 4 main parts: 1) explanation for why the problem resides in the term ‘design’, 2) considerations of consequences of regarding design only as design, 3) explanation for how the concept of redesign can better explain the phenomenon of design, and 4) description of five reasons why redesign has not yet become part of mainstream understanding of design.

For me the most interesting part of the article were the discussion about what design really is. Michl for example states that “design always contains a collective, cooperative and cumulative dimension”. Michl’s description of design is very close to what I think engineering is.

Posted by Petri

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