What is the individual’s role in society and how does it relate to design?
Richard Buchanan in his paper ‘Wicked Problems in Design Thinking’ describes design as a “new liberal art of technological culture”. Buchanan goes on to state that “All men and women require a liberal art of design to live well in the complexity of the framework based in signs, things, actions and thoughts”.
This was the basis that I used to frame the five perspectives on design, consumption, and manipulation that we read for the first two weeks of class here at Austin Center for Design.
Those perspectives were represented in the following readings: ‘Design For The Real World’ by Allan Chochinov, ‘Manipulating Public Option: The Why and The How’ by Edward L. Bernays, ‘The Meaning of Design by Maurizio Vitta’, and the aforementioned ‘Wicked Problems in Design Thinking’ by Richard Buchanan
As part of the synthesis process I placed the different perspectives on a chart (pictured above) based on the influence and relevance of the reading to this idea of individual responsibility.
Using the lens of design as a liberal art all of these authors and thinkers are trying to illustrate the idea that as individuals, it is our responsibility to be both aware and educated to the methods of design and the state of consumption and manipulation that we exist in. Without this our influence and individual perspective devolves, as Vitta might describe, to “an ambiguous mist”.
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