design activism, chapter four

This chapter brought up some points that were interesting in terms of the activism portion of design. I was intrigued by the perspective of sustainability—in that it “is learning about living well but consuming (much) less; it is a social learning process and will involve moving from a ‘product-based well-being’ to thinking about products, dematerialized products, services and enabling solutions to satisfy our needs.” I think that it is so interesting that sustainability is not fully supported nor embraced by society even though it all comes back to us, consumers. The whole idea of being more conscious with our design processes as well as the waste that we produce is not to make humanity suffer in a mere challenge to cut down; rather, it all comes back to us—essentially, we are working hard to shape the environment and culture we hope to improve in the future. Point four in the list of “innate, universal, independent yet inter-connected drives” highlights our desire “to defend ourselves, our families and friends, our beliefs, and our resources.” This point stuck out to me because it highlights that behind every design are “experiences not objects.” In the end, it’s all about people. That’s why we should care and put in the effort to be more efficient and sustainable in our design projects. We are all in this together, and we have the choice to make life decisions that can improve our world. 

idea field guide to human-centered design: inspiration

I really enjoyed the inspiration chapter of IDEO’S field guide to human-centered design, specifically of how much they focused on just that: the humanness of design. I was intrigued by how each section and strategy was purely based on human interaction and reaction with each other or with ideas because the only way to design for others is to go directly to the source—“it’s critical to know who you’re designing for.” I appreciated the promotion of diversity within teams—“you won’t get unexpected solutions with an expected team”—which emphasizes that gender, race, age, and social status should be taken into account when aiming to gather information from and for a group. Additionally, I was interested in the point, “You can learn so much about a person’s mindset, behavior, and lifestyle by talking with them where they live or work,” because all of these details can provide context for someone’s responses to a certain idea. Asking open-ended questions is also an excellent way to receive organic responses from your audience. Finally, I thought that the idea of “Designing a solution that will work for everyone means talking to both extreme users and those squarely in the middle of your target audience” introduces a key step in gaining inspiration and research, once again emphasizing the need for an intentional selection of your audience.

the miscommunication of the doodle + sketching: the visual thinking power tool

(a) The idea of the misinterpreted simplicity of the doodle really resonated with me. I admit that I personally have looked down upon the effect of a doodle, but Sunni Brown has structured this piece in a way that has shifted my perspective. As it is so easy to get caught up in complex ideas that may seem impossible to put together through words, I love the idea of the doodle representing a “universal language.” No matter who or where you are, everyone has access to produce some form of a doodle. In the same way, ideas expressed through doodles can be understood by anyone, no matter your geographical location nor what language you speak.

(b) I think that perceiving sketching as a documentation of personal growth is an interesting concept. I love how much Rohde stresses the looseness and freedom of sketching—the whole point is that nothing is set in stone. Rather, it is a medium in which you can continue taking steps, getting closer and closer to your intended concrete end result or project. I must also admit that I have neglected to utilize the power of sketching due to my “They won’t turn out perfect” fear. In response to this mentality, however, I like how he highlights, “Ugly gets the job done just fine”—that’s the nature of all growing ideas.

4: do-it-yourself murder

I am intrigued by the author’s quotation of his co-written work creativity versus conformity, which describes the “veritable prison cell” triangle of humanity—consisting of the sides ‘biological limitations’, ‘limitations of habitat’, and ‘limitations of mortality.’ He believes that the goal of the human is to break free of these so-called parameters; however, he also includes that “...the people of the Third world are more capable in solving their own design problems...people native to developing countries have an enormous amount of design and technological expertise.” This example seems counterintuitive to his previous, triangular point, as it proves that the “limitations of habitat” may actually play a positive role in design in the third world. Perhaps these three sides of “limitation” may actually serve purpose beyond limiting. Humans tend to be more creative when given restrictions—it’s easier to produce a work of art with at least a theme or idea for inspiration. Moreover, as he continues, “increasingly the work of foreign experts constitutes an unnecessary intrusion,” I think that Papanek further highlights the importance of restricted immersion within a culture in order to provide long-term, knowledgeable help. I believe that this, in turn, provides freedom despite lying within these three “walls.”