States of Design: The Present and Future of the Field in Twelve Parts

In the past decades, design has branched out in many new directions that have galvanized emerging practitioners, sparked business models, and set the worldwide education system on academic fire. There are numerous different ways in which one can be a designer today, working for instance on interactions, interfaces, the Web, visualizations, biological entities, typefaces, socially-minded infrastructures, 5D spaces, sustainability, games, critical scenarios, and yes, even products and furniture. This seminar will examine contemporary modes of working within the field of design, from centers to peripheries, in order to understand the current landscape and its future pathways.

The topics might be broken down into areas such as:

Visualization design has existed since the beginning, a direct expression of our desire to understand, describe and bring complex phenomena down to human scale.

Brand Design
Brand design is not only the art of giving image and personality to corporations and products, but also the form of design that is devoted to communication.

In 2007, John Seely Brown introduced the concept of Thinkering, or \”thinking with your hands.\”

Critical Design
Following in the footsteps of radical design and architecture from the late 1960s and 1970s, Critical Design focuses on studying the impact and possible consequences of new technologies and policies, and of worldwide social and environmental trends, as well as on outlining new goals and areas of interest for designers.

Organic Design
The study and application of the norms and forms of nature has been bundled for centuries under the label of \”organic design\”, a broad term that embraces such diverse examples as Art Nouveau, some examples of robotics, biomimetic objects, etc. Contemporary organic design incorporates nature in new ways.

In Your Face
Type design follows the history of the design of objects and buildings throughout the centuries, similarly reflecting social developments, advances in materials and means of production, cultural biases and technological progress.

Bio-designers are turning their attention to familiar organisms like plants and animals. In some cases they examine the less accessible world of bacteria and cells, while in others they pursue the creation of new living systems by directly manipulating DNA.

The Chair
Chairs are the staple of design, one of the first categories of objects (together with cars) that people all over the world think of when confronted with the \”D\” word.

\”Green\” Design
Sustainability is commonly perceived as the antithesis of indulgence. But is environmental responsibility really all about renouncing enjoyment, lightness and humor? A new breed of designers is finding ways to combine ideological commitments with life’s pleasures.

Social Design
Motivated by an ideal of equality, the dedication with which architects and designers strive to achieve even small improvements in living conditions opens up new perspectives.

Radical Crafts
While designers were grappling with 3D printing, objects\’ lifecycles and recycles, footprints and Linden dollars, crafts have quietly pervaded not only the discussion but also the practice of design.

Quantum Design
The best contemporary design follows the speculative and generative frameworks of quantum physics.