It's the first day of a new year and what better way to start than with some food for thought. We've rounded up our favorite design thinking pieces from 2014 on a range of topics from design education to tips for getting hired at a design firm, thoughts on social design to questioning the term industrial design itself. Sit back, dive in, and get ready for another year.
But first, if you're still feeling a bit hazy from last night's celebrations, how about some hair of the dog...
Redistillation in the Industrial Design Process, or Why Gin is Better than Vodka, by Fosta
"...By simply following a path of endless reduction we distill out every impurity, we filter every trace of individuality, every element that deviates from the drive towards that (false) grail: a simple singular expression of form and interaction. Whilst the technical prowess needed to achieve such simplicity is significant and admirable, I am often struck by just how dull the results can be."
Designing with Energy, by Richard Gilbert from The Agency of Design
"...Unlike electricity consumption, where you need to go to great lengths to record and visualize energy, this data told you that the lump of material you're holding took 10 megajoules of energy to go from earthbound ore to product in hand. I could now define my whole material world in terms of energy—and that's exactly what I started doing, carrying a screwdriver and a set of scales I started disassembling and weighing products to try and calculate their embodied energy. This quickly escalated to doing an embodied energy calculation for everything I owned."
Tools of Design Representation and Conceptual Design Practices, by James Self
"What kinds of fundamental designerly knowledge, skills and practices underpin effective and productive engagement with and use of tools of design representation during conceptual design? I believe that knowledge of these fundamentals is required both to develop more effective digital design tools and to contribute to design pedagogy alongside the more traditional studio teaching environment of practical skills acquisition."
Cansu Akarsu on Socially Conscious Design, Networking Like Crazy and Unexpected Results, by Moa Dickmark
"Cansu Akarsu is one of those people who you can't help but notice when she enters a room: Her bubbly and positive energy more than makes up for her small stature. I met her during the INDEX: Design Awards a few years back, and have had the great pleasure of seeing her grow as a designer with her many socially conscious projects. Her resume includes projects such as Happy Baby Carrier, Pad Back and Soap Shish. She moved from Copenhagen to Stavanger, Norway, this year and is now working at Laerdal Global Health."
Why DesignX? Designers and Complex Systems, by Don Norman
"For many years, together with a number of design educators, I have been discussing how design can address the complex socio-technological systems that characterize our world. The issues are not new: many people and disciplines have grappled with them for some time. But how can design play a role? Do our educational methods, especially the emphasis upon craft, prepare designers for this? What can design add?"
Eight Tips for Getting Hired at a Top I.D. Firm, by Bryn Smith
"...Yesterday, we ran the last of our nine Getting Hired interviews, in which we solicited job-seeking advice from key hiring personnel at LUNAR, IDEO, Philips, BMW Group Designworks USA, Smart Design, frog, Google X, Ziba and Teague (whew!). To wrap up the series, we asked our intrepid interviewer, Bryn Smith, to distill those conversations into a shortlist of essential strategies for landing your next design job. Did we miss something? By all means, share your own I.D.-employment wisdom in the comments."