Unit 17: Overview and assignment

How do we design Design?

More and more, designers are expanding their traditional role as service provider into positions of greater agency. Today, the designer as author, producer, entrepreneur or cultural critic is common. Whatever the challenge, designers are now able to activate their own ideas and shape projects and products for users and audiences directly. How do we design the design process to best serve these relationships? In this unit—your most in-depth Design Studio project at RISD to date—you’ll begin by identifying your own interest that stimulates an inquiry reflecting your own questions, values and identity as a designer.

Learning objectives
— to become intimately aware of the “process of design” as an unfolding creative experience.
— to develop a project experience of personal interest and value.
— to develop a natural unfolding process deliberately guided by visual search.
— to ensure a meaningful enfolding of ideas into a final resolution.

Process phases and schedule
Unit#17 Phase 1:

1) Identify your main interest condensed into a single word by reflecting briefly on your response to Unit#15’s question (and sub-questions): What are my design values? Do so in a very short time!
IMPORTANT: DO NOT have project any product or design—keep your mind open!
2) Respond to this via a “making” process of VISUAL SEARCH (to draw, sketch, diagram, form, build, etc.). See the “Conditional Making” below to help you get into this “making” process)
3) From this visual response evolve a simplified “design brief” (meant to evolve over time).
4) For MONDAY 4/11: present this visual search for group review, to fill at least one table, structured in a self-explanatory “narrative” that allows us to respond to what you share from your experience. Present only the results. Do not describe, or explain.

Conditional Making: Choose 2–3 conditions from this list:

— a physical place (a nation, a region, a spot down by the canal, a wall, a pathway, the mall etc.)
— a tool (scanner, copy machine, snapchat, after effects, dropbox, tape, brush, glue, letterpress etc.)
— a method or action (appropriation, collage, collaboration, gaming, blow up, repeat, erase, etc.)
— content / material (newspaper, books, wiki articles, photo archive, googled street view, poem, letters, etc.)
— a physical context (getting dressed, reading a book, taking care of a child, watching a movie, sending
email, riding a train, browsing the web, online shopping, to-do lists, texting a friend etc.)
— an emotional context (make someone happy, take away pain, make yourself laugh, reduce anxiety, etc.)

(For example: scanner, getting dressed, at the mall; or: masking tape, by the canal, make someone happy.)

Using your conditions, pose your questions, make your inquiries, and follow the process….


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