Design as a Field of Inquiry: A Reflection on Design Methods

By Natalie Erika (Ebenreuter) Lehoux.

Published by The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Design research, practice, processes and methods point to the different ways in which design can be conceived and developed. The resulting knowledge that is contributed to and drawn from design culture presents an overwhelming diversity of knowing, doing and making that are fundamentally different to one another. The conflicts between creative, logical and rational design methods that have led to the fragmentation of design practice are one such example.

In this paper a history of design is drawn upon to illustrate the influence of contemporary design methods and examines the way in which design practice and research have evolved. This is important because design theorists of the latter period of the Design Methods Movement rejected earlier design practices that focused purely on methods as a way of designing.

Challenging the notions that design is a problem solving activity or the art of complexity, it is argued that when design is approached through a method of inquiry it becomes a way of finding concrete problems that focus on the human experience. By emphasising the role of inquiry in design it is envisaged that this paper will contribute to the ongoing development of design research that closely examines the context of existing conditions of a situation, derived from concrete experience, as a starting point for the creation of design solutions.

Keywords: Design Methods, Inquiry, Analysis, Synthesis, Form

The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.85-96. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 412.184KB).

Dr. Natalie Erika (Ebenreuter) Lehoux

Interaction Designer, Applications Domain, Applications Studio Team, Nozay

Natalie Ebenreuter is a Fulbright scholar who is currently working as an interaction design researcher at Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs France and as a lecturer in Interactive Media and Service Design at Parsons Paris, School of Art and Design. Her experience includes lecturing in design at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design, Swinburne University of Technology’s Faculty of Design, Pittsburgh University’s Computer Science Department and Gobelins l’école de l’image. Natalie has also disseminated various aspects of her research through publications and presentations in Australia, The United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe.