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Design and Design Theory

Design and Design Theory

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Frederick Kiesler and Design Research in the First Age of Robotic Culture

In 1960, the renowned architect Philip Johnson championed Frederick Kiesler, calling him “the greatest non-building architect of our time.” Kiesler’s ideas were difficult to construct, but as Johnson believed, “enormous” and “profound.” Kiesler (1890–1965) went against the grain of the accepted modern style, rejecting rectilinear glass and steel in favor of more organic forms and flexible structures that could respond to the ever-changing needs of the body in motion.

A Semiotic Theory for Graphic Design

Graphic design has been an academic discipline since the post-World War II era, but it has yet to develop a coherent theoretical foundation. Instead, it proceeds through styles, genres, and imitation, drawing on sources that range from the Bauhaus to deconstructionism. In FireSigns, Steven Skaggs offers the foundation for a semiotic theory of graphic design, exploring semiotic concepts from design and studio art perspectives and offering useful conceptual tools for practicing designers.

Designing Meaningful Products in a World Awash with Ideas

The standard text on innovation advises would-be innovators to conduct creative brainstorming sessions and seek input from outsiders—users or communities. This kind of innovating can be effective at improving products but not at capturing bigger opportunities in the marketplace. In this book Roberto Verganti offers a new approach—one that does not set out to solve existing problems but to find breakthrough meaningful experiences. There is no brainstorming—which produces too many ideas, unfiltered—but a vision, subject to criticism.

Investigating Synthetic Biology’s Designs on Nature

Synthetic biology manipulates the stuff of life. For synthetic biologists, living matter is programmable material. In search of carbon-neutral fuels, sustainable manufacturing techniques, and innovative drugs, these researchers aim to redesign existing organisms and even construct completely novel biological entities. Some synthetic biologists see themselves as designers, inventing new products and applications. But if biology is viewed as a malleable, engineerable, designable medium, what is the role of design and how will its values apply?

An Illustrated History

The bicycle ranks as one of the most enduring, most widely used vehicles in the world, with more than a billion produced during almost two hundred years of cycling history. This book offers an authoritative and comprehensive account of the bicycle’s technical and historical evolution, from the earliest velocipedes (invented to fill the need for horseless transport during a shortage of oats) to modern racing bikes, mountain bikes, and recumbents.

66 Ways Experts Think

What makes an expert software designer? It is more than experience or innate ability. Expert software designers have specific habits, learned practices, and observed principles that they apply deliberately during their design work. This book offers sixty-six insights, distilled from years of studying experts at work, that capture what successful software designers actually do to create great software.

Contemporary computing technologies have thoroughly embedded themselves in every aspect of modern life—conducting commerce, maintaining and extending our networks of friends, and mobilizing political movements all occur through a growing collection of devices and services designed to keep and hold our attention. Yet what happens when our attention needs to be more local, collective, and focused on our immediate communities? Perhaps more important, how can we imagine and create new technologies with local communities?

Talking about Seeing and Doing

In Shape, George Stiny argues that seeing shapes—with all their changeability and ambiguity—is an inexhaustible source of creative ideas. Understanding shapes, he says, is a useful way to understand what is possible in design.

If only today’s technology were simpler! It’s the universal lament, but it’s wrong. In this provocative and informative book, Don Norman writes that the complexity of our technology must mirror the complexity and richness of our lives. It’s not complexity that’s the problem, it’s bad design. Bad design complicates things unnecessarily and confuses us. Good design can tame complexity.

Although each instance of creativity is singular and specific, Kyna Leski tells us, the creative process is universal. Artists, architects, poets, inventors, scientists, and others all navigate the same stages of the process in order to discover something that does not yet exist. All of us must work our way through the empty page, the blank screen, writer’s block, confusion, chaos, and doubt. In this book, Leski draws from her observations and experiences as a teacher, student, maker, writer, and architect to describe the workings of the creative process.

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