Abstract

Interest in the codification and application of design methods is rapidly growing as businesses increasingly utilize “design thinking” approaches. However, in this uptake of design methods that encourage designerly action, the ontological status of design methods is often diffuse, with contradictory messages from practitioners and academics about the purpose and desired use of methods within a designer’s process. In this paper, I explore the paradoxical nature of design methods, arguing for a nuanced view that includes the (often) conflicting qualities of prescription and performance. A prescriptive view of methods is drawn from the specification of methods and their “proper” use in the academic literature, while a performative view focuses on in situ use in practice, describing how practitioners use methods to support their everyday work. The ontological characteristics and practical outcomes of each view of design methods are considered, concluding with productive tensions that juxtapose academia and practice.

Keywords:

design methods; design practice; research/practice divide

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Share

COinS
 
Jun 17th, 12:00 AM

What is the Nature and Intended Use of Design Methods?

Interest in the codification and application of design methods is rapidly growing as businesses increasingly utilize “design thinking” approaches. However, in this uptake of design methods that encourage designerly action, the ontological status of design methods is often diffuse, with contradictory messages from practitioners and academics about the purpose and desired use of methods within a designer’s process. In this paper, I explore the paradoxical nature of design methods, arguing for a nuanced view that includes the (often) conflicting qualities of prescription and performance. A prescriptive view of methods is drawn from the specification of methods and their “proper” use in the academic literature, while a performative view focuses on in situ use in practice, describing how practitioners use methods to support their everyday work. The ontological characteristics and practical outcomes of each view of design methods are considered, concluding with productive tensions that juxtapose academia and practice.

 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.