The materials of design

May 2014: jBoye Philadelphia 2014

There are a wide range of design disciplines, all with surprising similarity in how they are practiced. But with such similarity, why is it almost impossible for us to move from one to another – why can’t a digital designer move to architecture or a print designer to fashion – after all, they usually involve understanding a client (or internal) brief, understanding the user needs, sketching and making prototypes, testing them out, presenting ideas and endless negotations with people who just don’t ‘get it’.

In this presentation, I’ll explore the idea of materials of design. I’ll discuss how it is the materials knowledge that separate the design disciplines; but how its the design process and professional practice that makes them similar. In doing so, I’ll explain such random and interesting things like why we repeatedly try to define disciplines and roles; why user experience folks are always talking about unicorns; why we keep ‘discovering’ that other disciplines have already solved our problems; and show to keep your career interesting and varied.

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