Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Design Concepts & Concerns Blog: An interactive platform for the DCC course at NID, India

Image: The Process of Design – The NID Way: As introduced in the Design Concepts & Concerns course

We have set up a new blog called "Design Concepts & Concerns" named after the course that I teach at NID, Ahmedabad over the past two decades now. This course was earlier called Design Methods and later Design Process but sometime in 1997-98 I changed the name to "Design Concepts & Concerns" (DCC as the students call it now) since I realised that designing is not just about techniques and about beating the competition with great market success, but that it is about human intentions that lead to thoughts and actions that create value – great value for all stakeholders – if the intentions are clear and these are followed by creative thoughts and committed actions. Setting goals has therefor become a part of this course and it is no longer about taking a client brief and getting on with the job, whatever the job may entail. There is an element of questioning and of taking positions and this makes the act and practice of design quite political and the design students would need to be equipped to assess the varied situations that they would face in the future, in most cases very difficult choices about an unknowable future, no matter how much experience the client or the designer may have had in the past.

As part of this course I have set up a multi author blog that includes several teachers who have been working with me as well as colleagues from near and far since they have volunteered to be accessible to students as well as contribute to the explorations taht would be part of each course as we move forward with it this semester at NID. Such an educational blog gives us the opportunity of maintaining a living document of the course as it unfolds each time and this is perhaps close to what Prof Bruce Archer had meant when he told us at NID that we would and should strive to maintain a contemporaneous documentation of design work if we are to build a body of knowledge about design which is otherwise very hard to come by. You may have noticed that designers are notorious for not publishing their insights and processes but most design journalism usually covers the outcomes of a design journey but rarely the process with all its warts and blemishes, which are many, and designers do not want to be seen as making mistakes since most administrators think that making mistakes is a sign of lack of expertise. However we now know that this is far from the truth, and IDEO, one the most successful design companies in recent times has as their slogan – “ to fail often to succeed sooner”, very insightful statement that is central to their design process.

This link to the "Design Concepts & Concerns" blog will take you there and show you the assignments and the details of the course as it unfolds this semester at NID. I am offering this course to many disciplines at NID this semester and the current course is at Gandhinagar campus for the Digital Design relaterd disciplines at the new campus that include New Media (NMD), Software and User Interface Design (SUID) and Information and Digital Design (IDD). This is a course of two weeks each and the next modules are offered at the Paldi campus (twice) and also at the Bangalore campus in October 2007 for the new discipline of Design for Retail Experience (DRE) that has started there from June this year.

This course has been documented, at least partly, at my website and two modules conducted in 2003 and 2004 can be seen at these links below. Each year we choose a theme for all the modules that are offered to the students and this year the theme is "The Design Opportunities for the Creative Economy in India" and in the course at Gandhinagar we are focussing on Digital Design Opportunities for design entrepreneurs in India across the 230 sectors of our economy.
Theme : Globalistaion and Impact on Indian economy – Link: Documentation of the course in 2004
Theme : Khadi as a way of life for India and the World – Link: Documentation of the course in 2003

I have published papers on this course as well as presented the work done by the students at a number of conferences. These papers and presentations can be downloaded from these links below:

Cactus Flowers Bloom in the Desert: National Design Summit 2001 Link: Paper 123 kb Link: Presentation part-1 (3.6 MB pdf) Link: Presentation part-2 (4.6 MB pdf)
The Avalanche Effect: on PhD-Design list in 2003 Link: Paper 55 kb pdf
Creating the Unknowable: EAD06 conference Bremen 2005 Link: Paper 50 kb pdf
EAD06 Bremen, Show. Link: Presentation 4.1 MB pdf

More about the ongoing course and its contemporaneous documentation at the link to the blog "Design Concepts & Concerns"

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ranjan,

    remembered you while reading this post>
    Pls go thru it if you haven't done so. Something tells me that your comment on the post may be better than the post itself.


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