At a time when technology is rapidly narrowing the gap between customers and manufacturers, the practice of ‘professional design’ finds itself at a crossroads. One path leads towards the margins of professional relevancy, while the other points towards a role in helping to shape a more contextually appropriate and sustainable future. While design skill and technique focused on the creation of physical artifacts will not disappear, the profession must realize that lasting importance lies in an ability to leverage designerly approaches in order to facilitate and enable interactions between people the world in which they live. The adoption of a mindset that engages ‘users’, not simply as subjects of research or hackers of the system, but as participants in the design process itself enables designers to better connect with community and cultural understanding. This dynamic awareness and connection with the human condition is something few, if any, other disciplines possess the tools to manage and act upon. In a seemingly contradictory approach, the involvement of non-designers throughout the design process will play a greater role in the application and growth of design as a professional activity. Future designers must be capable of facilitating actions with, rather than simply for, the people who stand to benefit most at the conclusion of the process. More collaborative tools, techniques, and methods of communication must be introduced early on in the design curriculum in order to prepare students for the changing face of design.
|Keywords:||Service Design, Industrial Design, Design Education, Pedagogy|
Associate Professor, Department of Industrial and Graphic Design, Auburn University, Alabama, USA