Design X: Critical Reflections

The Law of Diminishing Astonishment*

Conrad Gleber
October 2002
DesignX: Critical Reflections

What are the essential qualities of design that should be taught?

Design reifies acts of meaning into structures that fulfill a purpose. The purpose of any design is fueled by desire, identified and distilled from a shared common understanding, intersubjectivity. The development of design proceeds as an interaction between agency and purpose, how and why, technology and intent. As students develop a design practice for themselves they need to recognize the role each contributes to the process of design.

The purpose, the why or the intent of design is informed by intersubjectivity. It is socially mediated action that results in meaningful design. It relies on an intuitive sense of knowing the mind of others. It places the context of design into social interaction.

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