Design Research

Design Research means that design is our...

  • Designed artifacts act in the world. They can ask questions, propose answers, critique society, embody knowledge, suggest activities, be truthful or deceptive. We create designs that share, and act on, the best of what we learn.
...way of thinking
  • Designerly enquiry relies on flexible understanding and repeated reframing of problems. Trying out many solutions helps us learn the nature of the problem. Our process prioritizes practicality (optimizing within constraints), ingenuity (creating, not just finding, answers), appropriateness (context is all) and empathy (for our users, clients, and even the materials we work with).
  • Design methods are solution-focused. We rely on contextual knowledge, qualitative analysis, pattern formation, and synthesis. A cycle of "investigation, ideation, iteration, and reflection" enables us to construct creative answers.
  • These design processes are well-suited to address "wicked problems" whose complex interdependencies make them hard to define. And as our world increasingly interconnects, exposing both complexity and interdependency, more and more of our problems look wicked.
...favorite research topic
  • Not everyone is a trained designer. But many people engage in creative endeavours that involve design thinking. As much as possible we want to understand (through qualitative research) and support (through designed products) popular literacy and competence in creative, interpretive, and designerly activities.