EIGHT – Changes

At the beginning of this unit, we attempted to define design, concluding that design is not an ends in itself but the very process of creating a solution. Design implies an innovative process that creatively produces visual communication and products with the intent to create structure in everyday living. Reflecting on the last three months, I can observe how the theory I have gradually come to understand within this unit has changed the way I perceive the field as a whole. Initially, I had a very narrow perception of design, seeing it only as visual communication and tangible products. I now observe my surroundings daily and strive to analyse the designer’s intent. “How did they do that? How did they make that person behave in that way? Is that what they intended? Why?” These are among the questions I find myself pondering when I observe other’s interactions with their surroundings. I think I have learnt that design is not merely a profession or skill; design is a way of seeing; a way of interacting with the world. It is a way of life (University of Illinois at Chicago).

Design is about progress. It is the conceptualization and creation of new things: ideas, interactions, information, objects, typefaces, books, posters, products, places, signs, systems, services, furniture, websites, and more.

– (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Personally, I feel I have progressed a great deal as a designer by engaging so often with the design process at various stages within this unit. By defining problems, performing background research, ideating solutions and developing prototypes I have developed a more thorough understanding of the implications of a given design and the process of arriving at a satisfactory solution. Although frustrating at times, I tried to align myself with ‘the seven stages of design’. I soon came to realise that my first idea was never my best idea.

7 stages of the design process (Ambrose and Harris, 2010)

I have also realised that I need to review the way I interact with other people. Collaboration is such a crucial part of design, and if I am to limit myself by disregarding other people’s perceptions and contributions to design I am missing valuable opportunities. For a successful collaboration it is important to be flexible with the ownership of ideas (Salonen). Collaboration adds complexity to a design. This collaboration can be viewed along two spectrums; hierarchical to flat and closed to open. This creates a quadrant based on the aspects of governance and the openness of the collaboration in the design process (Salonen).

Quadrant Stages (Salonen)

Each of these parameters can be visualised as seen below


Governance and Openness of collaboration (Salonen).

I would like to strive to create an open and flat environment where each participant feels empowered to contribute to the process out of their own volition and other members respect their contribution as an equal. This is something I will bear in mind in future collaborative environments.

In order to further improve as a designer I will breakdown each design I encounter into the seven stages of design to ensure I produce the most effective solution possible. I am also planning on engaging in design projects beyond the university environment, namely the Bicentennial Anniversary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh in the Logan community, marking 200 years since he came and proclaimed His message to unite all mankind. In His Writings, Bahá’u’lláh outlined a framework for the development of a global civilization which takes into account both the spiritual and material dimensions of human life (Bahai.org, 2017). This is a unique opportunity in which Baha’i’s and their friends will celebrate across the globe. I hope to take this chance to reach out to fellow aspiring and established designers to enrich the celebration in our local community and potentially implement something in multiple communities of Brisbane. I hope to utilise new technologies and strategies to broaden my vision and change the social norms surrounding celebration established in our modern day society.




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