Abstract

A number of barriers exist to engaging professional designers with discussions of theory, the industry is relatively young and design practice is both time pressured and fast changing, with designers moving rapidly from project to project. This is coupled with a lack of substantive provision of continual professional development which can isolate designers from contemporary debate. Additionally, designers have a preferred learning style that can disconnect them from theory, having a tendency to favour exploratory or trial and error methods rather than seek academic models. The remit of this research has been the integration of theory and practice focusing in particular on developing meaningful discussion around the context within which design operates. This paper describes the way in which the Design Council has developed an effective method for bringing theory to life for practicing designers and also used practitioner insights to influence theory. This paper describes the development of an innovative, multidisciplinary, monthly debate series in London and across the UK, entitled ‘D-futures’. The paper will describe the format and will show why it has been effective in engaging designers with theory in contrast to the majority of existing design events which are based on traditional lectures. The debates have attracted a regular following of 300+ designers from Design consultancies and companies including, IDEO, Landor, Boeing, Foster and Partners, Fitch, Ford, Nissan and Samsung. One attendee described it as “Creating a space for practicing designers to intellectualise”.

COinS
 
Nov 17th, 12:00 AM

Creating a Space for Practicing Designers to Intellectualise; Bringing Theory to Life for Designers.

A number of barriers exist to engaging professional designers with discussions of theory, the industry is relatively young and design practice is both time pressured and fast changing, with designers moving rapidly from project to project. This is coupled with a lack of substantive provision of continual professional development which can isolate designers from contemporary debate. Additionally, designers have a preferred learning style that can disconnect them from theory, having a tendency to favour exploratory or trial and error methods rather than seek academic models. The remit of this research has been the integration of theory and practice focusing in particular on developing meaningful discussion around the context within which design operates. This paper describes the way in which the Design Council has developed an effective method for bringing theory to life for practicing designers and also used practitioner insights to influence theory. This paper describes the development of an innovative, multidisciplinary, monthly debate series in London and across the UK, entitled ‘D-futures’. The paper will describe the format and will show why it has been effective in engaging designers with theory in contrast to the majority of existing design events which are based on traditional lectures. The debates have attracted a regular following of 300+ designers from Design consultancies and companies including, IDEO, Landor, Boeing, Foster and Partners, Fitch, Ford, Nissan and Samsung. One attendee described it as “Creating a space for practicing designers to intellectualise”.

 

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