On a recent visit to Croatia, I was struck by how many small Roman archeological sites dotted the landscape as well as how many wells, pumps, bridges and roads built by the armies of rulers like Diocletian still serve the region. I'm guessing that neither the taskmasters nor the slaves who carted the stones and dug the wells would have considered themselves industrial designers, but they were certainly part of a tradition of designing with intent—making sure that precious resources were used and re-used and, above all, designed to last.
Romans ruins of Solin (Salona), outside Split, Croatia. June 2004. Photo by Adam Jones
But what does it mean to design with intent in the 21st century when our natural and human-made resources are more precious than ever before? Designing for your product's lifetime is more than just a perspective on the end product, it's a total concept that can help designers structure the entire design process to more efficiently and effectively source, create, distribute and repair products that withstand the test of time, even if some of the pieces need to be fixed or replaced. To help reach these goals, Dan Lockton's Design with Intent Toolkit focuses on how to design objects for certain kinds of human behavior: for example, how to encourage a user to consume less water or energy. Autodesk also took a closer look at Designing with intent on their Sustainability Workshop blog.
Core77's Design for (Your) Product Lifetime Student Challenge is all about designing with intent. In partnership with Autodesk and iFixit, we've asked students and recent graduates to present a new "smart" product that's also smarter environmentally. Coming up on our November 15 deadline for submissions, we're looking forward to seeing a variety of entries we expect would make Diocletian proud.
Entries are due November 15 and winners will be announced on December 5 on Core77 and with a special webcast presented by Autodesk. Prizes include:
- $2,000 AmEx card
- Pro Tech Base Toolkit, available on iFixit.com, along with the Oak Gerstner Toolbox
- $1,000 AmEx card
- Pro Tech Base Toolkit, available on iFixit.com
- $750 AmEx card
- $25 gift certificate to iFixit.com
Good luck to all who have entered! And if you need some extra inspiration, watch this webinar from Dawn Danby, Senior Sustainable Design Program Manager at Autodesk and co-creator of Autodesk Sustainability Workshop, reviews a range of sustainable product development strategies, focusing on ways designers can guide users to more sustainable behavior.