Brenda Laurel

Brenda Laurel is Chair of the graduate Media Design Program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California and was the co-founder of Purple Moon. She is the author of Utopian Entrepreneur (MIT Press, 2001).

  • Design Research

    Design Research

    Methods and Perspectives

    Brenda Laurel

    How the tools of design research can involve designers more directly with objects, products and services they design; from human-centered research methods to formal experimentation, process models, and application to real world design problems.

    The tools of design research, writes Brenda Laurel, will allow designers "to claim and direct the power of their profession." Often neglected in the various curricula of design schools, the new models of design research described in this book help designers to investigate people, form, and process in ways that can make their work more potent and more delightful. "At the very least," Peter Lunenfeld writes in the preface, "design research saves us from reinventing the wheel. At its best, a lively research methodology can reinvigorate the passion that so often fades after designers join the profession."

    The goal of the book is to introduce designers to the many research tools that can be used to inform design as well as to ideas about how and when to deploy them effectively. The chapter authors come from diverse institutions and enterprises, including Stanford University, MIT, Intel, Maxis, Studio Anybody, Sweden's HUMlab, and Big Blue Dot. Each has something to say about how designers make themselves better at what they do through research, and illustrates it with real world examples—case studies, anecdotes, and images. Topics of this multi-voice conversation include qualitative and quantitative methods, performance ethnography and design improvisation, trend research, cultural diversity, formal and structural research practice, tactical discussions of design research process, and case studies drawn from areas as unique as computer games, museum information systems, and movies. Interspersed throughout the book are one-page "demos," snapshots of the design research experience. Design Research charts the paths from research methods to research findings to design principles to design results and demonstrates the transformation of theory into a richly satisfying and more reliably successful practice.

    • Hardcover $54.95 £45.00
  • Utopian Entrepreneur

    Utopian Entrepreneur

    Brenda Laurel

    A guide to doing positive work in the context of business.

    A heady hybrid of critical thinking, personal narrative, and economic analysis, Utopian Entrepreneur is a field manual for those who want to do socially positive work in the context of business. One of the few Silicon Valley veterans who participated in all four of the major computer tech bubbles—games, multimedia, virtual reality, and dot-coms—Brenda Laurel is known for injecting humanistic values into computer-based media.

    Laurel interweaves her ideas on how to conduct socially progressive business with the saga of her experiences with the Interval Research Corporation and as the founder of the pioneering girls' software company Purple Moon.

    • Hardcover $9.75 £7.99
    • Paperback $19.95 £15.99

Contributor

  • Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat

    Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat

    New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming

    Yasmin B. Kafai, Carrie Heeter, Jill Denner, and Jennifer Y. Sun

    Girls and women as game players and game designers in the new digital landscape of massively multiplayer online games, “second lives,” “modding,” serious games, and casual games.

    Ten years after the groundbreaking From Barbie to Mortal Kombat highlighted the ways gender stereotyping and related social and economic issues permeate digital game play, the number of women and girl gamers has risen considerably. Despite this, gender disparities remain in gaming. Women may be warriors in World of Warcraft, but they are also scantily clad “booth babes” whose sex appeal is used to promote games at trade shows. Player-generated content has revolutionized gaming, but few games marketed to girls allow “modding” (game modifications made by players). Gender equity, the contributors to Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat argue, requires more than increasing the overall numbers of female players. Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat brings together new media theorists, game designers, educators, psychologists, and industry professionals, including some of the contributors to the earlier volume, to look at how gender intersects with the broader contexts of digital games today: gaming, game industry and design, and serious games. The contributors discuss the rise of massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) and the experience of girl and women players in gaming communities; the still male-dominated gaming industry and the need for different perspectives in game design; and gender concerns related to emerging serious games (games meant not only to entertain but also to educate, persuade, or change behavior). In today's game-packed digital landscape, there is an even greater need for games that offer motivating, challenging, and enriching contexts for play to a more diverse population of players.

    Contributors Cornelia Brunner, Shannon Campe, Justine Cassell, Mia Consalvo, Jill Denner, Mary Flanagan, Janine Fron, Tracy Fullerton, Elisabeth Hayes, Carrie Heeter, Kristin Hughes, Mimi Ito, Henry Jenkins III, Yasmin B. Kafai, Caitlin Kelleher, Brenda Laurel, Nicole Lazzaro, Holin Lin, Jacki Morie, Helen Nissenbaum, Celia Pearce, Caroline Pelletier, Jennifer Y. Sun, T. L. Taylor, Brian Winn, Nick YeeInterviews with Nichol Bradford, Brenda Braithwaite, Megan Gaiser, Sheri Graner Ray, Morgan Romine

    • Hardcover $19.75 £15.99
    • Paperback $30.00 £25.00