Reclaiming a Virtual Sense of Place

With the latest developments in digital technology, new design software has changed the way that designers are able to visualize the built environment effectively. Designers no longer have to practice the traditional drawing methods where it was difficult to actualize the design work. By using design technology, designers don’t need to rely on technical or descriptive drawing skills because the illustration process is broadly placed at the fingertips of skilled digital artists. Today, designers have more tools to easily express their ideas and powerfully to transfer them to clients. This significant progress has shifted the design profession to a whole new horizon, where designers of the built environment are able to incorporate their ideas and concepts into a virtual representation and to display the projects’ essence. However, this development in the design software still leaves a barrier between the designer and the client. Therefore, the approach is how designers are able to come up with new, effective representation methods where the client has more opportunities to interact during the design process and digital representation to understand the virtual/spatial sense of place.

Implementing Design Sprints in the Education of Industrial Designers

In the next five to ten years, products will undergo radical changes with improvements in technology and rapid manufacturing processes. A fourth year industrial design studio utilizes a “design sprint,” colliding concept development of housewares products with large-scale farm equipment, in rapid paced design thinking towards human-centered products for the future. Starting with these two overarching product categories, teams sought to understand/explore, diverge/converge, and prototype their innovations in a fast-paced implementation of the design process. Techniques of mind-mapping, empathic modeling, existing product mapping, user interviews, sketches, storyboards, and low fidelity prototypes were incorporated. Peer reviews by other teams determined which concepts would go forward at stage-gates, twice a week, as the initial forty concepts were funneled into one final deliverable. Students were expected to communicate why their design was compelling and who it benefits. Collaboration, trust, problem finding/solving, articulating ideas, and shared vision were some of the student takeaways from this rapidly paced project. This rapid development sprint process has been run in two consecutive years with different cohorts of approximately thirty-five senior industrial design students. This article discusses the process, the success, and the missteps during these rapid development projects and highlights both the faculty and student takeaways.

A Process of Hybridization: Design = Mindfulness + Cognition

Moving from the rigid limitations of single disciplinary studies into interdisciplinary practices and trans-disciplinary services, hybridization becomes an inevitable provocation extending the implication of design into many fields. Hybridization is not new to design; examining the design process on a micro scale one realizes that the process is hybrid in itself. According to Dr. Kabat-Zinn, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” This entails a conscious and deliberate direction of awareness. Mindfulness and awareness are not interchangeable terms; being aware means to acknowledge something is, mindfulness offers intention and ability to bring thoughts into the present, hereby making available a moment of deliberate choice, empathic connection to the environment and compassion toward the other. Cognition is defined as mental ability involved in gaining knowledge and comprehension. Cognition requires thinking, knowing, judging, decision-making and problem-solving. This article presents a process of hybridization in which the design process is an amalgam of mindful and cognition processes, and its implication to education. The hybrid is supported by a classification tool with a “3M” scale that varies between purely Mechanical to Mindful going through Mental. This article builds on research into the design process previously published as “Design Flows.”