Week 6 Readings

In my component of the seminar I want to get back to some fundamental questions—some very fundamental questions:

  • Who do we design for, ourselves, our clients, society at large? What is the
    correct balance? Is there such a thing?
  • How do we measure our success as designers?
  • Is design a way of life?
  • And, in the end, what is design?


1. Kenya Hara. “Art and Design,” from Designing Design. Lars Muller Publishers, 2007.
A brief, and to my mind, convincing definition of the difference between art and design.
(Do not read the part after “RE-DESIGN Exhibition.”)

LINK: Hara: Art and Design.

2. Kenya Hara, “What is Design,” from Designing Design. Lars Muller Publishers, 2007.
A wonderful treatment of the question and a fascinating walk through design history as viewed by someone outside of the mainstream western culture.

LINK: Hara: What Is Design?.

3. Jorge Frascara, “Graphic Design: Fine Art or Social Science?” from The Idea of Design, A Design Issues Reader. The MIT Press, 1996.
A view of the profession from someone who has firm convictions about how we should assess the success of the products of graphic design. Can we actually measure our success?

LINK: Frascara: Fine Art or Social Science?

4. Ettore Sottsass, “When I Was a Child,” from the exhibition catalogue,Man transFORMS: Aspects of Design. Cooper-Hewitt Museum, 1976.
A reminder that design is, ultimately, a distinctly human activity. You might be surprised that the author (top), a founder of the Memphis movement, made his name doing work like this:

LINK: Sottsass: When I Was a Child

5. Charles Eames, “Q & A,” a transcription of the brief Eames interview video (which I may or may not show!).

LINK: Eames Q&A


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