Item description for Understanding Design: 150 Reflections On Being A Designer by Kees Dorst...
What does it mean to be a designer, and what does it take to be a good designer? Understanding Design stimulates designers to think about what they do, how they do it, and why they aim for a certain effect. One hundred seventy precisely formulated mini-essays give insight into the design process and encourage reflection.
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Kees Dorst was trained as an Industrial Design Engineer at the University of Technology in Delft, Holland. He currently is Associate Dean Research and Professor of Design at the University of Technology, Sydney - and Senior Researcher in design at Eindhoven University of Technology. He brought about 50 products to market as a product designer for various design firms.
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Profound insights Nov 30, 2007
First some background. I'm a Professor of Human-Computer Interaction Design at Indiana University, School of Informatics. I've been teaching interaction design and instructional design since 1973. Kees Dorst has written 175 one page essays (he calls them 'reflections') on all aspects of design. Here's a sample: Design Problems, Elements of Design, Thinking about Design, On Designers, Head Heart Hand, Design Teams, Design and Society, Design Debates, and so on. Under each of these headings are the essays. So, for example, under the topic Head Heart Hand, he has reflections titled: Involvement, Empathy, The Quality Without a Name, and Motorcycle Maintenance. Some of the essays are practical; others are philosophical. Each is profound.
My copy of the "red book" (the first edition, hard bound, with 150 reflections) is totally marked up and highlighted. Almost everywhere do I agree with his sensibilities.
I've given this book to first year master's students -- they didn't get it. The strength of the essays is fully realized by someone who has "been there" and struggled with these issues. Thus, I'd recommend this book not as a first-book on design, but for someone who has struggled with these concepts and wants to read a coherent reflection on each. In our program, we use it as a second year supplementary text.
Warning: don't read these reflections one after another as if you're reading a novel or a technical book. Each essay is to be savored like a fine piece of chocolate. Thank you, Kees, and I'm eager to read your 25 new reflections.