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Culture and design : theory and criticism as the synergist for impactive practice

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Culture and design : theory and criticism as the synergist for impactive practice
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Culture and Design: Theory and Criticism as the Synergist for Impactive Practice
by Micaela Haluko
An undergraduate thesis submitted in partial completion of the Metropolitan State University of Denver Honors Program
December 2014
Lisa Abrendoth Dr. Vincent Piturro Dr. Megan Hughes-Zarzo
Honors Program Director
Primary Advisor
Second Reader


Culture and Design: Theory and Criticism as the Synergist for Impactive Practice
Micaela Haluko
HON 4950 Senior Honors Thesis Metropolitan State University of Denver
December 5, 2014


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Design is a term that integrates reflexively into many aspects of everyday life; we use the word in reference to an unnumbered cast of objects and actionsartifact, activity, and attainment all linking consequentially to the contrivance of the human experience. Domains of practice range from environment design to urban planning, industrial design to communication design, fashion to brand identity and marketing, and computer information and organizational systems, for starters. This variety, in consideration with all of the coextensive, or related branches, of knowledge development, has created a complicated environment for researchers attempting to identify a coherent sense of the nature of the discipline, let alone its practical development. It is perhaps because of its ubiquity, tacit operationality, and multifarious theoretical presence that design remains differentiated in its contextual applications. The question stands, however, whether there exists a framework from which designers, researchers, educators, and theorists can comprehend and communicate the full range of impact incurred in the practice of what is called design activity that facilitates inclusive response to paradigmatic shifts reflected in emerging fields of practice.
Recent movements among practitioners have come to reflect a growing desire for the matter of design to be more concerned with and critical of issues that effect the social contexts in which the practice operates. In its current state, design that practices on the imperative of social impact1 is recognized primarily in the form of individual methodology identified under many designationsa casual internet query reveals professional practices and educational programs listed under such labels as Social Impact Design, Human-Centered Design, Design for Social Justice, Empathic Design, Participatory Design, and more, all sub-classified as emerging or niche fields. The emphasis on the relationship to broader social contexts has yet to permeate the practical understanding of what Nigel
1 Here, the term social impact is used informally to reference practice that responds to social needs and contexts rather than just technical or physical and is differentiated from Social Impact Theory, a sociological theory that measures influencing factors on behavior in social contexts.


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Cross ([1982] 2006) refers to as Design with a capital D... the collected experience of the material culture, and the collected body of experience, skill and understanding embodied in the arts of planning, inventing, making and doing (1), hampered by amorphous disciplinary boundaries, conflicting interests of the users, designers and their clients, and lack of transdisciplinary exposure. Despite these challenges, there is an emerging voice that calls for the responsive recognition of the social nature and corresponding impact of Design.2 Incorporation of these principles into a metanarrative of design, facilitated through inclusion in Theory of Design and study of Design Culture, stimulates an aggregated discourse wherein the methods of practice are joined in context with ideas of social and cultural impact, thereby highlighting the disciplines pivotal relationship to society that will guide the future of design study and practice.
The goal of this paper is to analyze some of the significant challenges preventing the recognition of design and its many domains as a socially reflexive and impactful activity. By analyzing evolutions in definition along with development in disciplinary theory and practice, my intent is to identify the social aspects of design which are embedded (often only through tacit implication) in the discourse and its coextensive fields, such as research and criticism, to address theoretical gaps contributing to what Gui Bonsieppe ([2006] 2009) calls an alarming absence of questioning with regard to ethical and ideological concerns (211). In addition to examining the discourse, I wifi explore examples of current social impact models of design to identify congruities of practice and propose potential solutions for elevating transdisciplinary and critical perspective for inclusion in the broader system of concepts of design.
2 From this point forward in the paper, any reference to Design as a discipline wifi be noted with lower-case designation for easier readability, though its association to the overarching activities associated with the discipline in all variant domains remains unchanged. This same treatment wifi be followed for other formal disciplines and fields listed in the paper (such as Critical Theory, Design Culture, Human-Centered Design, etc).


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To Design is Human
Those of us who believe that design is a discipline have a major task to perform before acceptance can be expected in academia, in the world of practice, and amongst top managers and government policy makers. The task is to define the phenomenon about which the discipline is concerned. (Nadler 1980, 299)
One of the crucial steps to analyzing how an activity effects its surrounding systems is to
first understand the nature of the activity itself. In a 1980 article for the then fledgling journal
Design Studies, Gerald Nadler made a clear and inferentially predictive statement that this would
be one of the fundamental challenges to afflict exercises of contemplations on design long into the
disciplines future.3 Over three decades have passed since Nadler posited real-world impact
stemming from the incongruence of meaning when it comes to design, and the topic along with
debate on the implicit effects are still under deliberation by everyone from design critics and
historians to researchers and practitioners. The nature of the disagreement on boundary
identification is as varied as it is pervasiveeven those who have spent a lifetime entwined in
practice and discourse struggle to elucidate succinctly the whole nature of design. Statements range
from the detailed to the elusive, at times enigmatizing the design process simply, if not tenebrously,
as decision making, in the face of uncertainty, with high penalties for error.4 John Chris Joness
([1992] 2009) research on the definition of design culminates into one shaped by variance and he
ultimately generalizes the act of designing as the initiation of change in manmade things (78).
A brief survey of the definitions proposed in the context of designs theoretical development
reveals a continuous progression of thought about the function, purpose, and value of design:
3 In this article, Nadler never offers an official definition of design, rather, he develops a theory interlinking planning and design by means of shared delineation of description, timeline, and hierarchical strategy with the clear focus of legitimizing the design process for optimal benefit in the professional, client-driven world.
4 John Chris Jones (1992) quotes Morris Asimow among a healthy list of others in his inquiry on the definition of design, particularly in the domain of engineering.


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Design is defined as the area of human experience, skill and understanding that reflects man's concern with the appreciation and adaption of his surroundings in the light of his material and spiritual needs. In particular, though not exclusively, it relates with configuration, composition, meaning, value and purpose in man-made phenomena. (Archer 1979, 20)
Everyone designs who devises a course of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones... Design, so construed, is the core of all professional training; it is the principal mark that distinguishes the professions from the sciences. (Simon 1981, 129)
Design is the conception and planning of the artificial, that broad domain of human made products which includes: material objects, visual and verbal communications, organized activities and services, and complex systems and environments for living, working, playing, and learning. (Margolin/Buchanan 1992, 114)
I shall treat designing not primarily as a form of problem solving, information processing, or search, but as a kind of making... transactions with materials, artifacts made, conditions under which they are made, and manner of making. (Schon 1998, 111)
Despite their variance in approach and comprehensiveness, all of these definitions set out two
important qualifications that facilitate understanding of design: 1) the process is an active
intervention (implicitly human-driven), with 2) its effect targeted at fabricated artifacts, which
I will designate in contemporary contexts of the discipline as being inclusive of products that are
tangible (environments, works, and materials) as well as non-material (entities, systems, and
circumstances).5 Beyond these themes, however, each author expands the nuances of meaning to
different ends, some of which are social, others are technological, still others are rhetorical,
mathematical, linguistic, or pedagogical, depending on the goal of the argument and its intended
audience (Margolin 2002; Jones [1992] 2006; Friess 2009; Galle 2008; Baudrillard [1981] 2009;
Tarbox 2006; Cross [1982] 2006). To sum up his findings on the subject, Jones ([1992] 2009)
states that there are as many kinds of design process as there are writers about it, (77) and if, as
5 Similarly, Galle (2008) makes note of the expanded use of the word artefact on p 272 (the orthographic distinction is the result of geographic/cultural preferences and creates no discernible difference in meaning).


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he suggests, this consideration is multiplied by the extension of influence even after the designer
has exited the process, the potential for differentiation becomes exponential.
Per Galle (2008) concludes that cursory and conflicting alterations pose more harm than
good when it comes to putting forth a coherent concept of design. He calls the problem the
Suspicion of Insidious Inconsistency, claiming that the body of characterization in design relies too
heavily on self-consistency to generate meaning, thereby alienating related concepts from one
another (268). In search for a more appropriate definition of design and a starting point to relieve
disparity, he proposes a revision of Simons definition (listed above), that attempts to eliminate
contextual limitations and define design as broadly and uncontroversially as possible:
Design: A designers production of representations according to an idea, so as to enable a maker to produce an artefact that the designer will recognise as being in accordance with his idea. (272)
In this case, Galle places emphasis on generalized behaviors of design that echo the determined commonalities of active human intervention and concern for artifact similar to the other definitions above. This definition also illuminates another dimension of the activity of design by prioritizing the element of prediction, which, occurring prior to production, is an activity that requires the designer to anticipate the results (or, for later use in this paper, consequences) of the design solution in order to gauge successful implementation (278). There is an implication in Galles value of prediction as a design activity that, as I wifi soon examine, is greatly optimized by knowledge beyond the immediate material context of the problem.
Clive Dilnot (1982) states that designers are notoriously weak at explaining what the design process adds to the produced solution (143). He identifies the source of confusion as a dilution of concept brought on by allusive distortions of description that focus all around the design activity, but not on the process itself, privileging either the results of that activity


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(designed products) or the problems which originate that activity or both (139). For him, the act of defining design, or at least agreeing to common terms of generic significance within the discipline, must focus on activity as the basis for further investigation into the fuller extent of designs contextual impact. This process reveals that, stemming from the design activity, there is a synergetic system of influence between design and society (or, as he calls it, the design-and-society formula). In order to understand where he is coming from with this idea, the detailed extent of the design-and-society formula (or relationship) needs to be grasped by stripping away connected branches of meaning and focusing on the point of origin (140).6
By examining the objectives of those who have contributed, a common thread of design as social activity begins to emerge from the reflexive ataxia.7 My aim here is not to propose a new definition of design or establish a new structure of process or methodology, but to highlight the agreed-upon characteristics that are unique to the function of design activity in order to move forward in investigating the interrelationship of design and society. With that goal in mind, the commonalities of these definitions points to an understanding that design as a discipline is an especially human activity dependent on the relationship of the predictive process of a designer, applied to the problem of intervention, where interpretations of problem, solution (material, environment, system, etc), consequence, and value occur under the influence of cultural and social import. These concepts offer some clarity to the activity of design while allowing flexibility of definition according to purpose. In this way, it is also apparent that design need not,
6 Points of origin for design is another concept that falls under debate depending on the historical, metaphysical, and practical incentive for the thinker. Point of origin in this context relies on Dilnots argument in favor of the design activity.
7 It is worth noting here that for some researchers, the variance in design definitions is of little concern, if not an advantage. Richard Buchanan, while recognizing the need to establish a foundation for advancing study, encourages the debate, stating pluralism is the gene pool that ensures the sustainability of design inquiry. (qtd in Galle 2008, 268).


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and should not, be isolated from the greater sum of its consequences in order to be understood, rather concepts should reflect upon the significance of those junctions of interpretation. In this case, as with many of the avenues of meaning explored here, those who wish to address the formation of a discipline as complex as design rely on establishment of meaning through the illustration of connected concepts.
Redesigning the Map
The role of theory in explicating a concept, or a practical discipline in this case, has been contested in both its validity and its usefulness as a means of forming knowledge, an argument which seems to rely heavily on the nature and methodology of specific theories versus concepts of praxis as they are developed. For the purpose of this paper, I wifi leave the debate on the efficacy of theory to the expertise of those better versed in acute philosophical disquisition (perhaps to be taken up in a later paper) and focus on identifying and analyzing the theoretical discourse as it currently exists with relation to the discipline of design. As previously examined, the current body of thought has yielded a pervasive thread of discussion around Galle's (2008) Suspicion of Insidious Inconsistency within the discipline, stemming from the ever-evolving understanding of the nature of design (269). It is important to note that discussing how theory is, or should be, used is a contributing factor to this problem of coherency, but for now, it is helpful to examine some basic tenants of how a theory, or body of theory, is developed in order to identify its function in explicating and delimiting design.
The general notion of theory is often recognized on the colloquial level as an educated guess, at best, a survey of logic from which conclusions can be formed in the absence of factual evidence, and at worst, dismissed as unfounded fantasy. But in the realm of academic and scientific research, theory serves as a systematic process for developing, organizing, testing, and


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advancing concepts within a specific field of inquiry. Ken Friedman (2003) explains the idea in straightforward terms: theory allows us to frame and organize our observations. Theory permits us to question what we see and do. It helps us to develop generalizable answers that can be put to use by human beings in other times and places (513). Theory, especially in the context of design, is put to use not only to develop conceptual coherency and progress knowledge, but also as a driver for practice. To that end, I will examine the theoretical methodologies behind the formation of concepts of design and their roles in shaping the discourse.
Measuring Impact
Paul Davidson Reynolds (1971) examines the idea of theory within the scientific body of knowledge as a collection of abstract statements that can be organized as a set of empirical laws, axioms, or descriptions of causal processes (83). In order to better understand the goals of scientific knowledge in [describing] things and [explaining] why events occur, he outlines five provisional categories of application:
1) A method of organizing and categorizing things, a typology;
2) Predictions of future events;
3) Explanations of past events;
4) A sense of understanding about what causes events;
5) The potential for control of these events8 (5)
Reynoldss categorization, particularly with its emphasis on prediction and control, fits smoothly with the idea of design as a discipline of knowledge dealing with material and calculated means of production. Using a theoretical framework inspired by science to establish methods of research is an obvious choice and one that has been influential over the development
8 Reynolds relaxes the criteria of control as a full requirement due to the inability of scientists to retain influence over certain phenomena of the natural world (sliding scale of ethical considerations notwithstanding). The issue of control, however, is much more binding in the world of design, where process and production are linked to an intended action and predicted outcome.


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of design theory. The first efforts around creating a unified methodology of design were grounded in theories and philosophies of science, put forth by designers with goals that supported the needs of the most influential clients and aligned with the shifting paradigms and technological developments in society (Bayazit 2004).9 David Ullmans (1991) dissection of theory, which heavily privileges a scientific, empirical approach, regarding the natural" activity of design is applied to concepts about the design object, concepts about the design process, and concepts about the design context (204). Simon, in a motion toward legitimizing design as an academic pursuit, creates a theoretical justification based on traditional philosophical modes of logic and evaluation through computational models, underscoring the practice of design as its own wholly distinct discipline (a theme reflected in the discussion above on the challenge of defining design) (1981, 132-155). These are just two of many other design theory models that place high value on validation through the philosophies of science, if not specifically from an empirical perspective, then an ordinant one.
Recognition of design as a distinct activity dates back to mid-19th-century developments in manufacturing and industry, and it is no surprise that the research and theory around disciplinary practice centers on methods for measurable optimization.10 Friedman (2003) identifies the primary method of research for design practice as clinical analysis of professional engagement, owing to the fact that the demand of the designer-client relationship
9 According to Bayazit (2004), the leading influences over design theory and methodology at that time were propelled by the space-race and Cold War between the US and USSR.
10 Although the prevailing formal recognition of design as a distinct activity is linked to technological advancements and the Industrial Revolution, there are those who point to inclusions from antecedent eras due to operational and philosophical commonalities in the Renaissance, etymological roots in the Classical period, and still others who find relevance throughout the long histories of architecture and typographic communication (Bayazit 2004, Buchanan 2001, Terzidis 2007, Baljon 2002, etc). The variance here is another illustration of the discordant consideration of design as a discipline.


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and impetus for production place pressure on the schedule of problem resolution (510). Ullman (1991) identifies a similar bent in his overview of the status of design theory in the United States, owing its utilitarian and unphilosophical focus to the recurring problem of disciplinary fragmentation that reduced influential funding partners (such as the National Science Foundation and Department of Defense) to emphasizing end-result technology over formation of discipline and philosophy (205) (once again reinforcing Galles (2008) Suspicion of Insidious Inconsistency).
Reynolds (1971) recognizes two main problems (or categories of problems) with relying solely on empirical study to create a theory of design. The first relates to the tenuous requirement that design or scientific knowledge develop a sense of understanding as an empirical (rather than tacit) form of measurement. He attributes the subjective nature of this issue to dealing with the special characteristics of social phenomena... and its scientists (163). The phenomena of human behavior and corresponding social structures are subtle and densely interrelated, which increases the difficulty (to put it mildly) of identifying causal processes that can be explicitly stated and empirically and ethically tested. Finally, he concedes that the major factor that thwarts the development of a scientific body of knowledge of social and human phenomena is the character of social scientists themselvesproblems within the scientists, not within the phenomena (163).11 Where the scientists share with their human subjects a tendency toward value attribution, ignorance, and ambiguity, Reynolds prescribes clarity, precision, and explicit acknowledgement
11 There are veins of philosophy that would argue at this point that the activity of science is, for all of its goals of objectivity, a human and a social one (a characteristic revealed in Reynoldss assertion that the final test for whether a theory meets the goals of science is acceptance by other scientists). In the social sciences, in particular, the researcher is subject to the same rules and flaws of the human behavioral phenomenon that is being studied (on a generalized level), and so the qualities of perspective that inform the researchers analysis of behavior must be considered as a contributor to the conclusive statement of concept.


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of bias as a means to meet the objective, value free, qualifications required for theoretical validation and acceptance (162).12
This is where the second problem surfaces. Attending to human needs is one of the core concerns in design (demonstrated by the exploration of definition that reveals the imperative of the activity), and newer research has begun to incorporate analysis of the user experience, though it has taken place primarily through the lens of measurable effect on the individual (Postma et al 2012, 30). Where science, according to Cross ([1982] 2006), is focused on observations of the natural world, the abstract phenomena of the social human experience that latently informs design activity requires a research process adapted from another area of study: that of the humanities (2).13 The effect of division between science and the humanities on the perception of design has long been evident, and while there were early attempts to incorporate theory from other disciplines, the emphasis on the role of design in the social dimension remains peripheral in design and design research (Postma et al 2012, 31).14 The conceptual boundaries of design theory need to be expanded to encourage designers to understand the social and cultural aspects of human behavior beyond those logical frameworks as they relate not only to the intended user,
12 We should all be so lucky that the builders of knowledge in any discipline clearly understand and explicitly acknowledge their individual biases.
13 The term humanities is often used in the design literature as a general argumentative reference to areas of knowledge that are not scientific. It is recognized that knowledge in the field of humanities comes from many places, including social sciences, traditional cultural theories and fields of philosophy, all of which influence the body of design theory in different ways, but for the purposes of this paper, critical theory is chosen as a point of balance to highlight the broader social spheres in which design is an agent of activity.
14 The biased thrust of theoretical progression eventually caused some of the original founding thinkers to reject new doctrines of methodology, blaming the influence of behaviorism (originating from theories in psychology and sociology) for its attempts to fix all of life into logical frameworks (Bayazit 2004, 21).


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but also as they influence the design process (Postma et al 2012; Wang and Ilhan 2009; Margolin and Margolin 2002; Buchanan 2001, Bardzell et all 2012).
Enhancing Context
Basic interpretive methods in what were once established disciplines are now being challenged and in some instances rejected. This is not simply a temporary phenomenon but a fundamental revolution in the kinds of reflection we want to engage in as human beings. What we regard as knowledge is simply the codification of our collective experience in the world. As the nature of our experience changes, so does our conception of knowledge. (Margolin 1992, 112)
While my analysis of definition and theory thus far has focused on the design activity itself, the problem of recognizing the social and cultural milieu within which the process occurs has yet to be addressed. A return to the roots of design within the Industrial Revolution (discussed earlier) reveals another dimension of consequence to the activity of designthat of shifting political, economic, and ideological paradigms influencing society, and as established above, the designers, clients, and users that exist within it. According to Bardzell et al (2012), as the scale of the problem domain increases, the notion of comprehensive knowledge in advance of design is even more impractical. Standing in for comprehensive empirical knowledge, then, is an expert ability to read culture and to situate designs in appropriate and appealing ways within it (288). In this case, the expert ability manifests in the employment of knowledge from the humanities, specifically in the area of Critical Theory, as a component of methodology in design practice and research (289).
Arising from the work of the Frankfurt School of Social Research, Stephen Eric Bronner (2011) establishes that critical theory is based on a foundation of thought that is interdisciplinary and uniquely experimental in character... always concerned not only with how things were, but how they might be and should be. This ethical imperative led its primary thinkers to develop a cluster of themes and a new critical method that transformed our understanding of society (1-2). Founded in Marxist critique of Western Civilzation, critical theory examines the effects of


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capitalism (power structures of production and alienation), the nature of aesthetics and experience, and spheres of social formation and behavior with the goal of transforming society by putting the resulting ideas into practice (8).15 While, much like design, one of the primary goals of critical theory is to enact change, the approach espouses a stance that is largely skeptical of traditional methods of philosophy and science, with a tendency to resist stating explicitly its own processes that makes the application of critical theory seem antithetical to the goals of design methodology (Bardzell et al 2012, 290). With roots in historical materialism and progression through linguistic action (Bronner 2011, 47), critical theory does, however, provide tools to analyze the role of design within the structural relationships of production and society that exist beyond the objectives of science-based development.
The influence of critical theory is visible within certain design-related disciplines that call attention to the broader social significance of the design activity. Adrian Forty ([1986] 2009), citing branches of Neo-Marxist theory that recognize the cultural product as one that contains ideas about the world, ideas which exist in other minds apart from that of the artist, author, or designer, but which are mediated through his or her ability to conceive a form or means of representation, views the designer as an agent of ideology (16). Mary Douglas and Baron Isherwood ([1996] 2009) employ economic and material culture theories to examine the communicative nature of the designed commodity in order to understand how abstract social attributes ascribe predictive value to the product and to its consumer by transitive properties of ownership. Cheryl Buckley (1986) argues from a feminist theoretical viewpoint that culturally accepted formations such as sexual
15 Admittedly, such a condensed summary of the goals and boundaries of critical theory can be misleading as to the disciplines depth of development and philosophical and trandisciplinary application. The synopsis here is to illustrate some of the relevant topics within the body of discourse to that of design. The examples covered hereafter should be regarded similarly as compact overviews for the purpose of introduction, merely a fraction of the work done by critics, historians, and other thinkers within the bodies of design and critical theory.


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divisions of labor and historiographically individualistic and masculine appraisals of history have largely excluded social contexts of product that inform the alternative needs and voices of the designer (producer) and user (consumer). There are also designers, themselves, who urge alertness to issues of economic and political impact, gender, identity, and social justice and who view their work as a means of stimulating critical thought within the consuming public (Bonsieppe [2006] 2009; Bardzell et al 2012; Buckley 1986; Clark 2009; Dilnot 2009). All of these assessments fall into the discipline of design criticism and provide a crucial evaluation of product as it functions within social, economic, and political contexts, but the role of critical theory within the methodology of design practice is a bit more difficult to address.
While design as an activity delineated by specific methods and processes rarely earns an explicit mention in the foundations of critical theory (Bardzell et al 2012, 290), it is implicitly intertwined in the subjects of economic and cultural production. In an essay on the fetishism of commodities extracted from his text Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Karl Marx ([1906] 2009) addresses the properties and function of the produced (or designed) object. The material and labor components of a product are calculable in an empirical and formal sense, but embedded within those features are aspects that exist beyond the immediate value of use: effects of the producers physiology, quality that stands indifferently to the quantitative economic interests of production, and social formations that arise from the labor relationship between workers and those who hire them. These properties imbue upon the labor product an abstract value, that, when exchanged, enhance its status to that of a commodity object that exists from the human mind and hand while being afforded a relational status of social significance (the fetish). The resulting formation of value marks the object as a symbol, or social hieroglyphic that is


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encoded with a powerful cultural language to be translated in deference to the subjective contexts in which the producer and consumer operate at any given time in the process (195).16
In regard to the definitions examined earlier, Marxs critique on the process of production (one extract from a deeply developed body of work) bears resemblance to the design activity in that it focuses on the production of an artifact described by an objective typology that can be empirically predicted and measured. Along this line, if the conclusion of his argument is carried out, it becomes evident that the full value of the designed artifact contains the abstract social and culturally symbolic properties of the commodity, which has consequences in the formation of social, political, and economic structures that, unchecked, contribute to the repression, exploitation, and alienation embedded in western civilization (Bronner 2012, 1). The model of critique can also be applied as a metaphor for the understanding of design wherein the product of labor (design activity, artifact, and body of knowledge), hinging on the intent to intervene, exists within this subjective attribution of those social properties that are exchanged as a whole. This valuation reveals that a comprehensive knowledge of design, alienated from its greater social context, is incomplete. In this instance, critical theory provides a framework within which to not only identify gaps in practice, but also to understand the social underpinnings of the concept of design, thus stabilizing it while allowing for the modification of its methods. Expanding critical theory into the formative steps of practical methodology and in the overarching philosophies of design serves to explicate the hidden influences on the base of knowledge that informs the designer's predictive activity, which depends on understanding of extra-disciplinary contexts.
16 For a postindustrial accession of Marxs use-value and symbolic exchange, as well as an expansion of the linguistic properties of sign and fetish to the design product and process in the virtual realm, see Baudrillard (1981) (for starters).


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Theory in Practice
All of this discussion about ideas, definitions, and theories of research have removed us once again from the activity, or practical application, of design. This is not to argue that these avenues of discourse bypass the real world, as in fact, Friedman (2003) points out that a solid foundation of design knowledge anchored in broad research traditions gives each practitioner the access to the cumulative results of many other minds and the overall experience of a far larger field (512). Without drawing any conclusions as to whether design should be treated as a third area of knowledge or given any special academic dispensation (as Simon 1981, Cross [1982]
2006, and Julier 2006 argue), it is important to recognize that design holds a unique position in the balance between theory and praxis. Empirical theory of design shows us that there are quantitative and qualitative measures (even immaterial ones) by which a design solution can be optimized, and critical theory reflects on social construction and issues of assumptions embedded in traditional forms of theory and methodology that contribute to the false truth of design as a practice that is only of occasion for the market (Dilnot 2009, 181). A critical theory of design is not begging the dismissal of methodologies for empirical research. Instead, it provides a supplemental basis for uncovering the symbolic systems, ideological structures, and social and cultural contexts that influence every step of the design process, creating a motivated synthesis of the empirically driven scientific methods of science and the relational abstract methods of the humanities.
Where design has been traditionally oriented toward product development that functions within the market relationship of manufacturer and consumer, critical theory reveals the need to address the potential for systemic ripple effects of the design activity. Bearing this extended nature of consequence in mind, many designers have begun to recognize the inherent limitations within traditional methods of practice and develop approaches that illustrate and respond to issues of concern


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within social contexts. Victor and Sylvia Margolin (2002) have identified programs in design that, while suffering from lack of theoretical explication and support, have evolved in focus from market needs to social needs, ranging from the needs of developing countries, to the special needs of the aged, poor, and disabled (24).17 Design activity that is oriented toward social impact takes into account the elements of social need by including in its methods a means to ascertain the symbolic systems, ideological structures, and social and cultural contexts that inform both problem and solution. By analyzing the following examples, I intend to identify the processes by which social dimensions of knowledge become incorporated into the methods of social impact practice.
Empathic Design
Because a designer is a thinker whose job it is to move from thought to action, the designer uses capacities of mind to solve problems for clients in an appropriate and empathic way. (Friedman 2003, 511)
As discussed earlier, emphasis on user experience has become of particular interest to designers in the wake of technological development that pushes practice toward information systems and human-computer interaction (Postma et al 2012, 30). Empathic Design is one method that emphasizes the designers connection to the subjective user experience on multiple levels of the design process: observing the user's process of rationalization and emotion (research), making predictive inferences about user response, maintaining a dialogue with the user through all stages of the design process (prototyping), and interacting in cross-disciplinary learning experiences to broaden perspective (more research and evaluation) (32). Carolien Postma, Kristina Lauche, and Pieter Jan Stappers have identified, however, that the social realm plays a more determinative role in the human experience than has been recognized by established, individual-oriented empathic design methods. Seeking to provide a framework for
17 Margolin and Margolin (2002) cite Victor Papaneks 1972 Design for the Real World as one of the major texts that engaged a shift in practice toward social and environmental concerns (24).


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optimizing research in an environment that must contend with abstract, method-resistant social concepts as well as user data that has often been pre-structured and pre-analyzed by the people researchers, they advocate for the incorporation of Activity Theory (33).
Originating from Les Vygotskys social constructivist approach to psychology, activity theory rejects the traditional understanding of behaviorist and subjectivist theories to study the mind as it operates under the influence of external contexts (Tarbox 2006, 75). The subject who works toward an object or specific goal must in that process utilize various tools (artifacts) to negotiate within contextual factors such as rules (expectations and cultural norms), community that is working toward or impacted by the same object, and division of labor, all of which bring to the transaction a unique history that informs the decision-making process of the subject (75-76). In this instance, the designed artifact is not the end goal, but a tool to help the user meet his or her own needs within the context of the social environment, cultivating empathy from the designer who must understand these conditions to contribute to the users goal. Judy DAmmasso Tarbox raises this tool to analyze the designer as subject with the object of creating a successful design solution that communicates effectively within the context of use and value, illustrating the influences that inform the design activity (76). In this way, activity theory provides an opportunity for reflection similar to that of critical theory, calling attention to the web of context in which an object or activity is to be understood and providing insight on designs function as a social operative.
Critical Design
Another field of design that addresses the social role of practice is that of Critical Design, which seeks to disrupt or transgress social norms (Bardzell et al 2012, 288). Where empathic design views the design solution as a tool to facilitate user activity, critical design views the


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solution as an interpretive lens through which the artifact itself, rather than directly intervening in social issues, becomes a framework for critically investigating alternative social practices, values and technological possibilities that critique the assumed roles and functions for [design] products (Bowen 2010, 1). Where the challenging concepts of critical theory can be difficult to align with the methodical practice of design, Bardzell et al (2012) have identified thematic aspects that provide objectives for critical practice:
1) Deploying semiotic strategies to explicate symbolic systems;
2) Proposing critical strategies for exposing hidden ideological structures;
3) Appropriating a critical theoretic vocabulary for exploring relationships among design artifact features and qualities, the phenomenology of user experiences, and the socio-cultural contexts in which these relations unfold; and
4) By maintaining an intellectual commitment to socially good and richly fulfilling aesthetic experiences. (289)
The resulting process is one that encourage[s] complex and meaningful reflection on inhabitation of a ubiquitous, dematerializing, and intelligent environment: a form of social research to integrate critical aesthetic experience with everyday life (Dunne qtd in Bardzell 2012, 288). The design product resembles any other solution that adheres to formal expectations, but often defies its role as commodity, provoking the user to think critically about the normative acceptance of his or her own cultural roles and the factors that inform identity formation and attribute value.18
Where the practice of critical design serves a purpose in prompting critical reflection on designs role in the formation of social structures, researchers have identified a gap in the prospect for impact, even pointing out how the potential elitism of the process interferes with the democratic values of participatory design (Bowen 2010, 1) (Bardzell et al 2012, 290). They do, however, provide insight on enacting the critical design approach to create a successful research
18 Among the most well-known critical design products are those of Dunne & Raby which fall into the category of industrial design, but the principles apply to any domain of design practice.


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plan and solution. First, designers must understand the balance of novelty and familiarity to sustain interest and create effective provocation through rapid prototyping (too strange and the user is turned off, too conventional and the user fails to distinguish critical meaning). Second, designers (as researchers) should form a deep relationship with the participant users that break through initial misconceptions on all contributing sides. Third, designers must allow for flexibility within the research plan, leaving room for research subjects to shape the critical dialogue (296). Applying the principles of critical theory in conjunction with a method-oriented focus allows the design process to work in the spaces where empirical research fails to create comprehensive understanding of the social and cultural systems necessary to inform predictive activity.
Human-Centered Design
Arising from method formalization that occurred in computing and system-related inquiries of the 1980s, human- or user-centered design focuses on the characteristics and needs of the user that can be analyzed and experimentally tested through iterative prototyping to develop an integrative design solution (Friess 2010, 41). The process has since influenced adaptation of methodology in other domains of design (from product to communication to environment), but the primary objective that has remained constant through the many iterative versions of human-centered design is to research the intended user population and develop formal and functional components of the product based on the results (42). Erin Friess points out a tendency of traditional methods of human-centered design to lean too heavily on the use of empirical data to drive design decisions, rendering the approach no longer just human centered but empirically centered. Rather than being guided by interactions with end users, designers are being forced into the role of engineer, making decisions based solely on quantifiable and easily


21
relatable data gathered from the end users (40).19 This condition, while omitting extant social and emotional contexts of the user (unless reported as significant in data findings), also disregards the designers perspective and intuition, which plays an equally important role in informing the value of the design interaction.
Friess (2010) advocates for a revision to human-centered design which places the designer, with the ability to contemplate issues of implication beyond the empirical, as the human facilitator at the center of the process (48), a principle that has been at the core of approaches promoted by designers such as Tim Brown and David Kelley at IDEO. Placing a balanced method of human-centered design at the forefront of practice, IDEO formulated a method that exists in the spaces of inspiration, ideation, and implementation (Brown and Wyatt 2010, 33). Operating on the idea that the designers approach to problem solving comes from our ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, to construct ideas that have emotional meaning as well as being functional, and to express ourselves in media other than words or symbols, Brown stresses that design thinking is a deeply human activity that can be put to use by designers and non-designers alike (30). From this platform, the team at IDEO developed a comprehensive instructional program designed to assist leaders and change-makers of all kinds (especially popular with non-profits and other social enterprises) to move beyond conventional problem solving by finding concrete ways to navigate frequently dismissed intuititive and empathetic aspects that can reveal unanticipated consequences of the design activity (30). The
19 Friess (2010) bases her assessment on the idea that design serves a rhetorical function (posed by Richard Buchanan and others) in that the artifact, rather than functioning simply as a thing, is actually a persuasive argument enacted when its value is demonstrated through use or considered use. In this light, an empirically-centered process is really a logos-centered process, stripping the designer of rhetorical agency (45) by discounting the intuitive, empathic, and conscientious factors necessary to create a persuasive, communicative solution that can fulfill its function in the destgn-and-soctety relationship.


22
human-centered design method becomes useful in many contexts from product, communication, and environment design to organizational and educational restructuring, empower[ing] both the designers who make the product and the users who incorporate the product into their lives (Friess 2010, 49) (Brown and Wyatt 2001, 29).
Each of these practices, while operating on distinct methodologies, reveals shared tendencies in social impact orientation as described above. First, whether regarded as a participant, consumer, or evaluator, user perspective plays an informant role in defining the design problem as well as developing a solution. Second, methods also require a dimension of transdisciplinary collaboration to reveal the extrinsic contexts (often social and systemic) and analyze quantitative and qualitative research. Finally, successful implementation involves critical reflection on the design process from problem to solution in an iterative course of evaluation. These themes, consistent in emerging fields of practice, highlight opportunities for application at a higher level of design framework that emphasizes recognition and critical evaluation of social contexts to influence practice regardless of the domain or field.
Design without Borders
A human-based perspective on design research implies that it should be viewed in the same light as these other disciplines that involve research into human action and, in consequence, needs a similar level of attention to epistemological and ontological issues relating to theories involving humans in design. (Fove 2000, 10)
After analyzing historical and contemporary definitions of design as well as theoretical
influences, Ive established that there needs to be a framework within the design discourse that
recognizes the social context within which the design activity is carried out, embracing
transdisciplinary and critical sources of knowledge while still emphasizing the methodological
needs of the design process. Examples of social impact practice, which address some of these
issues, reveal corresponding methods that, despite being relegated to niche fields of design, set a


23
guide for implementation at a more inclusive level of methodology. The following candidates are only the beginning for potential solutions, but offer a starting point from which to research high-level incorporation of awareness for the design-and-society relationship.
Metatheory
One potential avenue for emphasis on the social context of design is to produce theory that is informative and credible to researchers in other fields by including relevant concepts in metatheoretical structures, such as the establishment of a design worldview posed by Galle (2008) and the framework for meta-analysis put forth by Terence Love (2000). Though each endeavor explores different means of establishing coherency, both researchers explore the function of a metatheory of design as a means to address the disciplines incoherent knowledgebase at an abstracted level, providing] a structured means of identifying which elements of design theory might contribute to a truly simplifying paradigm of design research, and which potentially simplifying paradigms are epistemologically inappropriate (Love 2000, 312-313).
The primary issue at the core of what Galle (2008) calls The Problem of Disintegration is the fact that many researchers draw conflicting theoretical conclusions under non- and pre-empirical metaphysical assumptions we make about the ultimate nature of reality, often tacitly and unknowingly, because we tend to take them for granted (268). Operating from the premise that ontological (exploring what design is) and epistemological (exploring how design works) theories of design inherently deal with the predictive and artificial qualities of process and artifact that exist only in abstract terms, he puts philosophical elucidation to work as a hedge against future inconsistency (279). Setting out criteria for establishing a principled and systematic metaphysical worldview of design, he reviews established theoretical candidates


24
(realist and nominalist) from other metaphysical disciplines based on how they can assist with identifying the subject area of design activity and enabling validation of prediction (281).
In light of the predictive nature of the design activity, the nominalist inclusion of Fictional-ism, arising from theories of mathematics, stands as an optimal framework of inclusion for concepts that promote awareness of the social context of design. Where a design prediction is considered literally false, its validity can still be measured in the relative, process-informed context of the story of design (Galle 2008, 286-88).20 It is within the contextual development of the design story that concepts of designs interrelationship to social and cultural formation can be applied. Validation of design predictions depend on the full network of story-specific agents and consequences, including user perspective and transdisciplinary collaboration, which must be researched and placed in the context of implementation (287). Here, critical theory incorporated into the design story also provides a clue in establishing the subject area of design as symbolic interaction, justifying the shift of focus from artifact to activity, as illustrated in frameworks such as Jurgen Habermass Theory of Communicative Action in which an actor operating from a perceived reality chooses a type of social action to effect change within an existing state of affairs (Cecez-Kecmanovic 1999, 2).21 This framework demonstrates the predictive development
20 Acknowledging theories of design that find comparable qualities to linguistic symbolism,
Galle points out that concepts that define the cohesive context of the design story can be represented either narratively (verbally or symbolically), or geometrically (planes of mathematical and visual representation).
21 Habermas lays out a framework to identify types of social action in a world defined by normative contexts of interaction, including communicative action which denotes interaction of social actors oriented to reaching understanding, in which they relate simultaneously to the objective, social and subjective worlds. The Theory of Communicative Action has played in an influential role in the development of design theory and method particularly in the domain of information systems (Cecez-Kecmanovic 1999, 2).


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of the perceived design story while the chosen action enables connection with the practicalities of everyday life in a more robust way (Galle 2008, 288).
Continuing the theme of addressing problematic description, Love (2000) identifies a trend in design theory and research that breaks down over semantic and metaphorical confusion prompted by conflated and poorly defined concepts and paradigmatic shifts in theory which fail to distinguish new transcriptions of vocabulary from old contexts (299).22 Underscoring the idea that a human-centered consideration of design must incorporate all branches and subdisciplines (including design science, design history, methods, research, criticism, etc) as well as find communicative relevance to related fields in the social sciences, this lack of coherency poses a difficult imposition to those who wish to further study of design from within the discipline and without (300). To address both of these issues and hasten the process of clarifying conceptual relation and efficacy, Love focuses his proposal on establishing a common framework of analysis for all reaches of design (299). In order to accomplish this task, he devises a taxonomy of critical meta-analysis that eliminates conflation and false identification of concepts by allowing subdisciplines and paradigms to be examined independently within the appropriate classification:
1) Direct perception of realitiesThis is the level at which we sit on chairs, watch sunsets, hear the sound of a bird
2) Description of ObjectsThe level that encompasses simple descriptions of objects, processes and systemsa vacuum cleaner, a typeface, a database
3) Behaviour of ElementsThe level at which the behaviour of elements which may be incorporated into objects, processes and systems is described. For example, headline type needs to be set closer than body text, the melody returns to the tonic
22 I experienced difficulty with this very problem in my own research. Identifying and understanding the connections between theories of varying avenues of discourse provides a challenge in holistically describing the problem of design. I have attempted for this paper to standardize terminology, or at least explain deviations, but recognize that there is much more work to be done in building a clear foundation of concept for a unifying discourse of design.


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4) Mechanisms of ChoiceThe level of descriptions about the way that choices are made between different objects, processes, or systems, and how solutions are evaluated. For example Why does a woodworker choose a claw hammer rather than a sledge hammer for hammering a small nail?
5) Design MethodsThe level in which theories about and proposals for design methods and techniques are describedThe theories about designing wood artefacts. How does one design a chair?
6) Design Process StructureThe level that includes the theories about the underlying structure of design process, and the influences of domain, culture, artefact type and other similar attributes and circumstances. For example, What are the processes underlying the design of Polynesian catamarans?
7) Theories about the Internal Processes of Designers and CollaborationThis level includes the descriptions of theories about the reasoning and cognition of individual designers, of negotiated design in collaborative design teams, and of cultural design effects on designers output. For example, How did Mackintosh design furniture? What communication is necessary between the different designers of timber framed housing?
8) General Design TheoriesThis is the level that is concerned with the details of those general theories which seek to describe the whole activity of designing and its relationship to the objects involved. For example, The activity of designing a boat, or a turbine, or a comic strip can be described as follows....
9) Epistemology of Design Theory and the Theories of ObjectsThis is the level that contains those analyses and discussions about the critical study of the nature, grounds, limits and criteria or validity of design knowledgeWhat is a theory of design?, What does it include and exclude?, On what assumptions is this theory based?
10) Ontology of DesignThe philosophical study of the ontological basis for design theory and the activity of designing. It is at this level where human values, and the values and fundamental assumptions of researchers, are included in critiques of theory. For example, Which human values and assumptions effect the design of new legislation for narcotics?, Are the methods of evaluation used to choose between different design alternatives consistent with the ethical proscriptions of the relevant professional bodies?, What is reality?, What is existence? (305-306)
Loves taxonomy covers elements of both scientific, or empirical, theory and formal analysis
(categories 1-5) as well as abstracted concepts within the metaphysical considerations (9-10),
combining elements of the two perspectives to cover the fuzzy area of qualitative descriptive
processes (6-8), all with emphasis on the human experience as a key factor (303). While the


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consideration of social contexts of design, neither through the sample-set standards of practice nor through inclusion of critical theory, are explicitly mentioned, it is easy to find applicable categories of analysis within this framework. For example, the requirement of social impact practice (above) that user perspective plays a prominent role in defining the design problem as well as developing a solution touches on categories 4-7, while the application of critical theory is most likely to be relevant in categories 6, 7, 9, and 10.
Both of these metatheoretical frameworks explore the nature and method of design on a high level that is inclusive of elements of practice and theory from all domains of the held. Issues of coherency and Galles (2008) Problem of Disintegration are addressed in open criteria for ontological and epistemological analysis, leaving room to explore the design-and-society relationship as it applies to the development of other theories within the body of design knowledge. Designs interrelation to transdisciplinary, societal and cultural contexts, however, remains an implicit suggestion in these frameworks to be pursued only by the researcher who is so-inclined. The effectiveness of meta-analysis as an influence on the recognition of social context also faces a challenge in that it necessarily maintains a distance from the practicalities of implementation, requiring another supplemental means of conveyance for ideas of social impact. Design Culture
If both people and things are actors, that they are affective in the processes through which we live and decisions are made, then all those parts should be understood fully. This means that not only the people and institutions are studied but the patina of things should also be closely observed. (Julier 2011, 1)
Recognizing the need to incorporate theory and methods that expatiate the design-and-society relationship on a level that will more directly affect conscientious practice, another avenue for exploration is in the way that design is studied. According to Richard Buchanan (2001), among the characteristics that make design unique is that it integrates knowledge from many other


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disciplines to actively impact human life and serve human beings in the accomplishment of their individual and collective goals (17). As such, this distinctive formation of knowledge requires a means of comprehensive study for the broad range of factors that contribute to and result from the activity of design. Operating from foundational commonalities in Visual Culture and Material Culture, Guy Julier (2006) has laid the foundation to develop a discipline of Design Culture which combines all of the corresponding areas of theory, research, methodology, and practice, along with disciplinary and intersecting social and cultural studies (64).
In chorus with Dilnot's ([1982] 2006) assertion that design activity (not the object or the design problem) is the center of concept, Julier (2006) argues that, in order to be fully effective in developing a living body of knowledge, the subject of design culture must necessarily remove itself from the limiting centrality of the design object to be used or read [and instead focus on] the structuring systems of encounter within the visual and material world (67). He lays the groundwork for this objective directly from the critical concepts that highlight the dynamic and often asymmetrical societal relationships that have become the subject of visual culture, marking the alienating commodification of phenomena, and material culture, focusing on quotidian systems of object consumption. Design culture informed by formal literacy of the design discipline as well as the social and cultural literacy of other fields, addresses the gap between these two approaches, extending the critical perspective to the wide range of visual and electronic media, environments, organizational systems, and reproductive processes through which design can be encountered (69). The concepts for inclusion in the discipline are examined and categorized according to functional integration with social and cultural systems (rather than relation to design artifact):
Value. The designers role is in the creation of value, including commercial, social,
cultural, environmental, political, and symbolic.


29
Circulation. A range of straightforward elements that underpin and shape the productive processes, including available technology, environmental, and human factors.
Practice. The engagement of design products, processes, and systems in everyday life is not merely a function of consumer culture in its traditional sense... [but] layers of socially-constituted activities in which individuals are carriers of collectively held practices, and may comprise sets of conventions and procedures. (74)
The shared criteria identified through earlier analysis of social impact practice (see
Theory in Practice above) active inclusion of user perspective, transdisciplinary revelation of
extrinsic contexts and qualified research, and iterative process of critical reflection and response
which fall under the practice category of this framework, also resist focus on the artifact as the
terminal objective of the design activity. Within the context of design culture, however, the
elucidation of these imperatives through a network of critical reflection and transdisciplinary
triangulation become relevant for application in the metanarrative of design. The social focus of
the design culture perspective also provides insight into the nature of design itself, which is often
represented as disembedded, free-floating and frictionless (3), by building a foundation for
critical and cultural evaluation and placing the concepts of design within active contexts.
Dori Tunstall recognizes the significant role that designers perform in creating artifacts
that incorporate communicative aspects of cultural value, saying designs superpower is its
ability to make abstract values real something you can negotiate, something you can discuss
with people (Millman and Tunstall 2011, 24:49). In this way, the expansive discipline of design
culture offers insight to the shifting values of both design and society that is informed not only
by awareness of relevant academic fields, but with a developed proficiency for material and
spatial literacy (Julier 2011, 5; Millman and Tunstall 2011). Recommending the perspective of
the designer as a locator and supplier of knowledge for other fields of cultural study, such as
anthropology or sociology, seems to be a reversal of the previously argued role in which


30
transdisciplinary collaboration serves to provide knowledge and context to the design process. But according to Julier, design can offer a specially honed perspective to understanding and deepening comprehension of local ecologies, creating a dignity of the specific that contributes to the larger dialogue of cultural identity and formation. By being a participant researcher, by sharing the results and insights of that research, and even to make proposals or carry out actions that stem from a deep understanding, design culture becomes not just the subject of study, but an affective means or an attitudinal approach where the researcher is a knowing interventionist (6). Conclusion
It is certainly important that designers know how to create visual symbols for communication and how to construct physical artifacts, but unless these become part of the living experience of human beings, sustaining them in the performance of their own actions and experiences, visual symbols and things have no value or significant meaning. Therefore, we should consciously consider the possibility that our communications and constructions are, in some sense, forms of action. (Buchanan 2001, 11)
In this investigation on the nature of design as it relates to society, there remains a wide
range of interlinking subjects that were either only briefly touched on or fully omitted from
consideration (including questions of ethical implication, environmental consideration, and
educational programs that omit theoretical and cultural studies from vocational practice), which
indicates that there is much more extensive work to be done in order to draw a formalized,
comprehensive discipline of design knowledge, if that is the goal. My analysis covers just a small
offering in the broader spectrum of attempts to define, theorize, and legitimize a discrete discipline
of design, but, even in limited overview, the implicit notion that there is an effective relation of
design to the broader agency of human experience and social structures becomes explicitly
apparent. Without acquiescing to the pressure to arrive at a singular interpretation of the design
identity or to create a fixed sense that all design must practice in interventions specifically for social
impact (though it is this authors position that designers can be uniquely effective in such a role), it


31
can still be said that there is an imperative within the meta-discourse for evaluation of designs interdependent position to society. Designers as agents of production do not operate alien from the context in which they are also consumers, and more and more, consumers are invited into the design process as active agents in the development of the design solution. This intersection carries with it all of the weight of predictive and communicative actions that bear social, political, and economic consequence on the intervention of design activity.
In the shifting paradigms of design toward user centrality, care must be taken to examine social dimensions of purpose and value. Inclusion of critical reflection and transdisciplinary insight at all points of activity and study (practice, research, theory and culture) is crucial for revealing the underpinnings of social structure and establishing concepts of design that transcend explanation of what it is in order to understand what it does. Examination of existing methods of social impact practice yields emphasis on the symbolic systems, ideological structures, and social and cultural contexts that heavily influence the design process in all fields and to this point have only been passively incorporated in broad disciplinary practice and discourse. By placing these evaluative concepts within a framework of metatheoretical and cultural studies, the abstract constituents that define the human experience become discernible, giving active cause for designers to become aware of the particular social systems in which the design process and artifact develop meaning and accrue value, and availing them of the confidence to reassert over against the marketthe absolute primacy of the interests of human beings in a human
future (Dilnot 2009, 182).


32
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Culture and Design: Theory and Criticism as the Synergist for Impactive Practice by Micaela Haluko An undergraduate thesis submitted in partial completion of the M etropolitan State University of D enver Honors Program December 2014 Lisa Abrendoth Dr. Vincent Piturro Dr. Megan Hughes Zarzo Primary Advisor Second Reader Honors Program Director

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Culture and Design: Theory and Criticism as the Synergist for Impactive Practice Micaela Haluko HON 4950 Senior Honors Thesis Metropolitan State University of Denver December 5, 2014

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! 1 Design is a term that integrates reflexively into many aspects of everyday life; we use the word in reference to an unnumbered cast of objects and actionsartifact, activity, and attainment all linking consequentially to the contrivance of the human experience. Domains of practice range from environment design to urban planning, industrial design to communication design, fashion to brand identity and marketing, and computer information and organizational systems, for starters. This variety, in consideration with all of the coextensive, or related branches, of knowledge development, has created a complicated environment for researchers attempting to identify a coherent sense of the nature of the discipline, let alone its practical development. It is perhaps because of its ubiquity, tacit operationality, and multifarious theoretical presence that design remains differentiated in its contextual applications. The question stands, however, whether there exists a framework from which designers, researchers, educators, and theorists can comprehend and communicate the full range of impact incurred in the practice of what is called design activity' that facilitates inclusive response to paradigmatic shifts reflected in emerging fields of practice. Recent movements among practitioners have come to reflect a growing desire for the matter of design to be more concerned with and critical of issues that effect the social contexts in which the practice operates In its current state, design that practices on the imperative of social impact is 1 recognized primarily in the form of individual methodology identified under many designationsa casual internet query reveals professional practices and educational programs listed under such labels as Social Impact Design, Human-Centered Design, Design for Social Justice, Empathic Design, Participatory Design, and more, all sub-classified as emerging or niche fields. The emphasis on the relationship to broader social contexts has yet to permeate the practical understanding of what Nigel Here, the term social impact is used informally to reference practice that responds to social 1 needs and contexts rather than just technical or physical and is differentiated from Social Impact Theory, a sociological theory that measures inuencing factors on behavior in social contexts.

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! 2 Cross ([1982] 2006) refers to as "Design with a capital D the collected experience of the material culture, and the collected body of experience, skill and understanding embodied in the arts of planning, inventing, making and doing'" (1), hampered by amorphous disciplinary boundaries, conflicting interests of the users, designers and their clients, and lack of transdisciplinary exposure. Despite these challenges, there is an emerging voice that calls for the responsive recognition of the social nature and corresponding impact of Design. Incorporation of these principles into a 2 metanarrative of design, facilitated through inclusion in Theory of Design and study of Design Culture, stimulates an aggregated discourse wherein the methods of practice are joined in context with ideas of social and cultural impact, thereby highlighting the discipline's pivotal relationship to society that will guide the future of design study and practice. The goal of this paper is to analyze some of the signicant challenges preventing the recognition of design and its many domains as a socially reexive and impactful activity. By analyzing evolutions in denition along with development in disciplinary theory and practice, my intent is to identify the social aspects of design which are embedded (often only through tacit implication) in the discourse and its coextensive elds, such as research and criticism, to address theoretical gaps contributing to what Gui Bonsieppe ([2006] 2009) calls "an alarming absence of questioning" with regard to ethical and ideological concerns (211). In addition to examining the discourse, I will explore examples of current social impact models of design to identify congruities of practice and propose potential solutions for elevating transdisciplinary and critical perspective for inclusion in the broader system of concepts of design. From this point forward in the paper, any reference to Design as a discipline will be noted with 2 lower-case designation for easier readability, though its association to the overarching activities associated with the discipline in all variant domain s remains unchanged. This same treatment will be followed for other formal disciplines and elds listed in the paper (such as Critical Theory, Design Culture, Human-Centered Design, etc).

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! 3 To Design is Human Those of us who believe that design is a discipline have a major task to perform before acceptance can be expected in academia, in the world of practice, and amongst top managers and government policy makers. The task is to dene the phenomenon about which the discipline is concerned. (Nadler 1980, 299) One of the crucial steps to analyzing how an activity effects its surrounding systems is to first understand the nature of the activity itself. In a 1980 article for the then fledgling journal Design Studies Gerald Nadler made a clear and inferentially predictive statement that this would be one of the fundamental challenges to afflict exercises of contemplations on design long into the discipline's future. Over three decades have passed since Nadler posited real-world impact 3 stemming from the incongruence of meaning when it comes to design, and the topic along with debate on the implicit effects are still under deliberation by everyone from design critics and historians to researchers and practitioners. The nature of the disagreement on boundary identification is as varied as it is pervasiveeven those who have spent a lifetime entwined in practice and discourse struggle to elucidate succinctly the whole nature of design. Statements range from the detailed to the elusive, at times enigmatizing the design process simply, if not tenebrously, as "decision making, in the face of uncertainty, with high penalties for error." John Chris Jones's 4 ([1992] 2009) research on the definition of design culminates into one shaped by variance and he ultimately generalizes the act of designing as the "initiation of change in manmade things" (78). A brief survey of the definitions proposed in the context of design's theoretical development reveals a continuous progression of thought about the function, purpose, and value of design: In this article, Nadler never offers an ofcial denition of design, rather, he develops a theory 3 interlinking planning and design by means of shared delineation of description, timeline, and hierarchical strategy with the clear focus of legitimizing the design process for optimal benet in the professional, client-driven world. John Chris Jones (1992) quotes Morris Asimow among a healthy list of others in his inquiry on 4 the denition of design, particularly in the domain of engineering.

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! 4 Design is dened as the area of human experience, skill and understanding that reects man's concern with the appreciation and adaption of his surroundings in the Iight of his material and spiritual needs. In particular, though not exclusively, it relates with conguration, composition, meaning, value and purpose in man-made phenomena. (Archer 1979, 20) Everyone designs who devises a course of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones Design, so construed, is the core of all professional training; it is the principal mark that distinguishes the professions from the sciences. (Simon 1981, 129) Design is the conception and planning of the articial, that broad domain of human made products which includes: material objects, visual and verbal communications, organized activities and services, and complex systems and environments for living, working, playing, and learning (Margolin/Buchanan 1992, 114) I shall treat designing not primarily as a form of problem solving,' information processing,' or search,' but as a kind of making transactions with materials, artifacts made, conditions under which they are made, and manner of making. (Schšn 1998, 111) Despite their variance in approach and comprehensiveness, all of these denitions set out two important qualications that facilitate understanding of design: 1) the process is an active intervention (implicitly human-driven), with 2) its effect targeted at fabricated "artifacts," which I will designate in contemporary contexts of the discipline as being inclusive of products that are tangible (environments, works, and materials) as well as non-material (entities, systems, and circumstances). Beyond these themes, however, each author expands the nuances of meaning to 5 different ends, some of which are social, others are technological, still others are rhetorical, mathematical, linguistic, or pedagogical, depending on the goal of the argument and its intended audience (Margolin 2002; Jones [1992] 2006; Friess 2009; Galle 2008; Baudrillard [1981] 2009; Tarbox 2006; Cross [1982] 2006). To sum up his ndings on the subject, Jones ([1992] 2009) states that "there are as many kinds of design process as there are writers about it," (77) and if, as Similarly, Galle (2008) makes note of the expanded use of the word artefact' on p 272 (the 5 orthographic distinction is the result of geographic/cultural preferences and creates no discernible difference in meaning).

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! 5 he suggests, this consideration is multiplied by the extension of inuence even after the designer has exited the process, the potential for differentiation becomes exponential. Per Galle (2008) concludes that cursory and conflicting alterations pose more harm than good when it comes to putting forth a coherent concept of design. He calls the problem the Suspicion of Insidious Inconsistency, claiming that the body of characterization in design relies too heavily on self-consistency to generate meaning, thereby alienating related concepts from one another (268) In search for a more appropriate definition of design and a starting point to relieve disparity, he proposes a revision of Simon's definition (listed above), that attempts to eliminate contextual limitations and "define design as broadly and uncontroversially as possible:" Design: A designer's production of representations according to an idea, so as to enable a maker to produce an artefact that the designer will recognise as being in accordance with his idea. (272) In this case, Galle places emphasis on generalized behaviors of design that echo the determined commonalities of active human intervention and concern for artifact similar to the other denitions above. This denition also illuminates another dimension of the activity of design by prioritizing the element of prediction, which, occurring prior to production, is an activity that requires the designer to anticipate the results (or, for later use in this paper, consequences ) of the design solution in order to gauge successful implementation (278). There is an implication in Galle's value of prediction as a design activity that, as I will soon examine, is greatly optimized by knowledge beyond the immediate material context of the problem. Clive Dilnot (1982) states that "designers are notoriously weak" at explaining what the design process adds to the produced solution (143). He identies the source of confusion as a dilution of concept brought on by allusive distortions of description that focus all around the design activity, but not on the process itself, privileging "either the results of that activity

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! 6 (designed products) or the problems which originate that activity or both" (139). For him, the act of dening design, or at least agreeing to common terms of generic signicance within the discipline, must focus on activity as the basis for further investigation into the fuller extent of design's contextual impact. This process reveals that, stemming from the design activity, there is a synergetic system of inuence between design and society (or, as he calls it, the design-andsociety formula ). In order to understand where he is coming from with this idea, the detailed extent of the design-and-society formula (or relationship) needs to be grasped by stripping away connected branches of meaning and focusing on the point of origin (140). 6 By examining the objectives of those who have contributed, a common thread of design as social activity begins to emerge from the reexive ataxia. My aim here is not to propose a 7 new denition of design or establish a new structure of process or methodology, but to highlight the agreed-upon characteristics that are unique to the function of design activity in order to move forward in investigating the interrelationship of design and society. With that goal in mind, the commonalities of these denitions points to an understanding that design as a discipline is an especially human activity dependent on the relationship of the predictive process of a designer, applied to the problem of intervention, where interpretations of problem, solution (material, environment, system, etc), consequence, and value occur under the inuence of cultural and social import. These concepts offer some clarity to the activity of design while allowing exibility of denition according to purpose. In this way, it is also apparent that design need not, Points of origin for design is another concept that falls under debate depending on the 6 historical, metaphysical, and practical incentive for the thinker. Point of origin in this context relies on Dilnot's argument in favor of the design activity. It is worth noting here that for some researchers, the variance in design denitions is of little 7 concern, if not an advantage. Richard Buchanan, while recognizing the need to establish a foundation for advancing study, encourages the debate, stating "pluralism is the gene pool that ensures the sustainability of design inquiry." (qtd in Galle 2008, 268).

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! 7 and should not, be isolated from the greater sum of its consequences in order to be understood, rather concepts should reect upon the signicance of those junctions of interpretation. In this case, as with many of the avenues of meaning explored here, those who wish to address the formation of a discipline as complex as design rely on establishment of meaning through the illustration of connected concepts. Redesigning the Map The role of theory in explicating a concept, or a practical discipline in this case, has been contested in both its validity and its usefulness as a means of forming knowledge, an argument which seems to rely heavily on the nature and methodology of specic theories versus concepts of praxis as they are developed. For the purpose of this paper, I will leave the debate on the efcacy of theory to the expertise of those better versed in acute philosophical disquisition (perhaps to be taken up in a later paper) and focus on identifying and analyzing the theoretical discourse as it currently exists with relation to the discipline of design. As previously examined, the current body of thought has yielded a pervasive thread of discussion around Galle's (2008) Suspicion of Insidious Inconsistency within the discipline, stemming from the ever-evolving understanding of the nature of design (269). It is important to note that discussing how theory is, or should be, used is a contributing factor to this problem of coherency, but for now, it is helpful to examine some basic tenants of how a theory, or body of theory, is developed in order to identify its function in explicating and delimiting design The general notion of theory is often recognized on the colloquial level as an "educated guess," at best, a survey of logic from which conclusions can be formed in the absence of factual evidence, and at worst, dismissed as unfounded fantasy. But in the realm of academic and scientic research, theory serves as a systematic process for developing, organizing, testing, and

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! 8 advancing concepts within a specic eld of inquiry. Ken Friedman (2003) explains the idea in straightforward terms: "theory allows us to frame and organize our observations. Theory permits us to question what we see and do. It helps us to develop generalizable answers that can be put to use by human beings in other times and places" (513) Theory, especially in the context of design, is put to use not only to develop conceptual coherency and progress knowledge, but also as a driver for practice. To that end, I will examine the theoretical methodologies behind the formation of concepts of design and their roles in shaping the discourse. Measuring Impact Paul Davidson Reynolds (1971) examines the idea of theory within the scientic body of knowledge as a collection of abstract statements that can be organized as a set of empirical laws, axioms, or descriptions of causal processes (83). In order to better understand the goals of scientic knowledge in "[describing] things' and [explaining] why events' occur," he outlines ve provisional categories of application: 1) A method of organizing and categorizing "things," a typology; 2) Predictions of future events; 3) Explanations of past events; 4) A sense of understanding about what causes events; 5) The potential for control of these events (5) 8 Reynolds's categorization, particularly with its emphasis on prediction and control, ts smoothly with the idea of design as a discipline of knowledge dealing with material and calculated means of production. Using a theoretical framework inspired by science to establish methods of research is an obvious choice and one that has been inuential over the development Reynolds relaxes the criteria of control as a full requirement due to the inability of scientists to 8 retain inuence over certain phenomena of the natural world (sliding scale of ethical considerations notwithstanding). The issue of control, however, is much more binding in the world of design, where process and production are linked to an intended action and predicted outcome.

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! 9 of design theory. The rst efforts around creating a unied methodology of design were grounded in theories and philosophies of science, put forth by designers with goals that supported the needs of the most inuential clients and aligned with the shifting paradigms and technological developments in society (Bayazit 2004). David Ullman's (1991) dissection of 9 theory, which heavily privileges a scientic, empirical approach, regarding the "natural" activity of design is applied to concepts about the design object, concepts about the design process, and concepts about the design context (204). Simon, in a motion toward legitimizing design as an academic pursuit, creates a theoretical justication based on traditional philosophical modes of logic and evaluation through computational models, underscoring the practice of design as its own wholly distinct discipline (a theme reected in the discussion above on the challenge of dening design) (1981, 132-155). These are just two of many other design theory models that place high value on validation through the philosophies of science, if not specically from an empirical perspective, then an ordinant one. Recognition of design as a distinct activity dates back to mid-19th-century developments in manufacturing and industry, and it is no surprise that the research and theory around disciplinary practice centers on methods for measurable optimization. Friedman (2003) 10 identies the primary method of research for design practice as "clinical" analysis of professional engagement, owing to the fact that the demand of the designer-client relationship According to Bayazit (2004), the leading inuences over design theory and methodology at that 9 time were propelled by the space-race and Cold War between the US and USSR Although the prevailing formal recognition of design as a distinct activity is linked to 10 technological advancements and the Industrial Revolution, there are those who point to inclusions from antecedent eras due to operational and philosophical commonalities in the Renaissance, etymological roots in the Classical period, and still others who nd relevance throughout the long histories of architecture and typographic communication (Bayazit 2004, Buchanan 2001, Terzidis 2007, Baljon 2002, etc). The variance here is another illustration of the discordant consideration of design as a discipline.

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! 10 and impetus for production place pressure on the schedule of problem resolution (510). Ullman (1991) identies a similar bent in his overview of the status of design theory in the United States, owing its "utilitarian and unphilosophical" focus to the recurring problem of disciplinary fragmentation that reduced inuential funding partners (such as the National Science Foundation and Department of Defense) to emphasizing end-result technology over formation of discipline and philosophy (205) (once again reinforcing Galle's (2008) Suspicion of Insidious Inconsistency ). Reynolds (1971) recognizes two main problems (or categories of problems) with relying solely on empirical study to create a theory of design. The rst relates to the tenuous requirement that design or scientic knowledge develop a sense of understanding as an empirical (rather than tacit) form of measurement. He attributes the subjective nature of this issue to dealing with "the special characteristics of social phenomena and its scientists" (163). The phenomena of human behavior and corresponding social structures are subtle and densely interrelated, which increases the difculty (to put it mildly) of identifying causal processes that can be explicitly stated and empirically and ethically tested. Finally, he concedes that "the major factor that thwarts the development of a scientic body of knowledge of social and human phenomena is the character of social scientists themselvesproblems within the scientists, not within the phenomena" (163). 11 Where the scientists share with their human subjects a tendency toward value attribution, ignorance, and ambiguity, Reynolds prescribes clarity, precision, and explicit acknowledgement There are veins of philosophy that would argue at this point that the activity of science is, for 11 all of its goals of objectivity, a human and a social one (a characteristic revealed in Reynolds's assertion that the nal test for whether a theory meets the goals of science is acceptance by other scientists). In the social sciences, in particular, the researcher is subject to the same rules and aws of the human behavioral phenomenon that is being studied (on a generalized level), and so the qualities of perspective that inform the researcher's analysis of behavior must be considered as a contributor to the conclusive statement of concept.

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! 11 of bias as a means to meet the objective, "value free," qualications required for theoretical validation and acceptance (162). 12 This is where the second problem surfaces. Attending to human needs is one of the core concerns in design (demonstrated by the exploration of denition that reveals the imperative of the activity), and newer research has begun to incorporate analysis of the user experience, though it has taken place primarily through the lens of measurable effect on the individual ( Postma et al 2012, 30 ). Where science, according to Cross ([1982] 2006), is focused on observations of the natural world, the abstract phenomena of the social human experience that latently informs design activity requires a research process adapted from another area of study: that of the humanities (2). The effect of division between science and the humanities on the perception of 13 design has long been evident, and while there were early attempts to incorporate theory from other disciplines, the emphasis on the role of design in the social dimension remains "peripheral in design and design research" (Postma et al 2012, 31) The conceptual boundaries of design 14 theory need to be expanded to encourage designers to understand the social and cultural aspects of human behavior beyond those logical frameworks as they relate not only to the intended user, We should all be so lucky that the builders of knowledge in any discipline clearly understand 12 and explicitly acknowledge their individual biases. The term humanities' is often used in the design literature as a general argumentative 13 reference to areas of knowledge that are "not scientic." It is recognized that knowledge in the eld of humanities comes from many places, including social sciences, traditional cultural theories and elds of philosophy, all of which inuence the body of design theory in different ways, but for the purposes of this paper, critical theory is chosen as a point of balance to highlight the broader social spheres in which design is an agent of activity. The biased thrust of theoretical progression eventually caused some of the original founding 14 thinkers to reject new doctrines of methodology, blaming the inuence of behaviorism (originating from theories in psychology and sociology) for its "attempts to x all of life into logical frameworks" (Bayazit 2004 21).

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! 12 but also as they inuence the design process (Postma et al 2012; Wang and Ilhan 2009; Margolin and Margolin 2002; Buchanan 2001, Bardzell et all 2012). Enhancing Context Basic interpretive methods in what were once established disciplines are now being challenged and in some instances rejected. This is not simply a temporary phenomenon but a fundamental revolution in the kinds of reection we want to engage in as human beings. What we regard as knowledge is simply the codication of our collective experience in the world. As the nature of our experience changes, so does our conception of knowledge. (Margolin 1992, 112) While my analysis of definition and theory thus far has focused on the design activity itself, the problem of recognizing the social and cultural milieu within which the process occurs has yet to be addressed. A return to the roots of design within the Industrial Revolution (discussed earlier) reveals another dimension of consequence to the activity of designthat of shifting political, economic, and ideological paradigms influencing society, and as established above, the designers, clients, and users that exist within it. According to Bardzell et al (2012), "as the scale of the problem domain increases, the notion of comprehensive knowledge in advance of design is even more impractical. Standing in for comprehensive empirical knowledge, then, is an expert ability to read culture and to situate designs in appropriate and appealing ways within it" (288). In this case, the expert ability manifests in the employment of knowledge from the humanities, specifically in the area of Critical Theory, as a component of methodology in design practice and research (289). Arising from the work of the Frankfurt School of Social Research, Stephen Eric Bronner (2011) establishes that critical theory is based on a foundation of thought that is "interdisciplinary and uniquely experimental in character always concerned not only with how things were, but how they might be and should be. This ethical imperative led its primary thinkers to develop a cluster of themes and a new critical method that transformed our understanding of society" (1-2). Founded in Marxist critique of Western Civilzation, critical theory examines the effects of

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! 13 capitalism (power structures of production and alienation), the nature of aesthetics and experience, and spheres of social formation and behavior with the goal of transforming society by putting the resulting ideas into practice (8). While, much like design, one of the primary 15 goals of critical theory is to enact change, the approach espouses a stance that is largely skeptical of traditional methods of philosophy and science, with "a tendency to resist stating explicitly its own processes" that makes the application of critical theory seem antithetical to the goals of design methodology (Bardzell et al 2012, 290). With roots in historical materialism and progression through linguistic action (Bronner 2011, 47), critical theory does, however, provide tools to analyze the role of design within the structural relationships of production and society that exist beyond the objectives of science-based development. The influence of critical theory is visible within certain design-related disciplines that call attention to the broader social significance of the design activity. Adrian Forty ([1986] 2009), citing branches of Neo-Marxist theory that recognize the cultural product as "one that contains ideas about the world, ideas which exist in other minds apart from that of the artist, author, or designer, but which are mediated through his or her ability to conceive a form or means of representation," views the designer as an agent of ideology (16). Mary Douglas and Baron Isherwood ([1996] 2009) employ economic and material culture theories to examine the communicative nature of the designed commodity in order to understand how abstract social attributes ascribe predictive value to the product and to its consumer by transitive properties of ownership. Cheryl Buckley (1986) argues from a feminist theoretical viewpoint that culturally accepted formations such as sexual Admittedly, such a condensed summary of the goals and boundaries of critical theory can be 15 misleading as to the discipline 's depth of development and philosophical and trandisciplinary application. The synopsis here is to illustrate some of the relevant topics within the body of discourse to that of design. The examples covered hereafter should be regarded similarly as compact overviews for the purpose of introduction, merely a fraction of the work done by critics, historians, and other thinkers within the bodies of design and critical theory.

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! 14 divisions of labor and historiographically individualistic and masculine appraisals of history have largely excluded social contexts of product that inform the alternative needs and voices of the designer (producer) and user (consumer). There are also designers, themselves, who urge alertness to issues of economic and political impact, gender, identity, and social justice and who view their work as a means of stimulating critical thought within the consuming public (Bonsieppe [2006] 2009; Bardzell et al 2012; Buckley 1986; Clark 2009; Dilnot 2009). All of these assessments fall into the discipline of design criticism and provide a crucial evaluation of product as it functions within social, economic, and political contexts, but the role of critical theory within the methodology of design practice is a bit more difficult to address While design as an activity delineated by specic methods and processes rarely earns an explicit mention in the foundations of critical theory (Bardzell et al 2012, 290), it is implicitly intertwined in the subjects of economic and cultural production. In an essay on the fetishism of commodities extracted from his text Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Karl Marx ([1906] 2009) addresses the properties and function of the produced (or designed) object. The material and labor components of a product are calculable in an empirical and formal sense, but embedded within those features are aspects that exist beyond the immediate value of use: effects of the producer's physiology, quality that stands indifferently to the quantitative economic interests of production, and social formations that arise from the labor relationship between workers and those who hire them. These properties imbue upon the labor product an abstract value, that, when exchanged, enhance its status to that of a commodity object that exists from the human mind and hand while being afforded a relational status of social signicance (the fetish). The resulting formation of value marks the object as a symbol, or "social hieroglyphic" that is

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! 15 encoded with a powerful cultural language to be translated in deference to the subjective contexts in which the producer and consumer operate at any given time in the process (195). 16 In regard to the denitions examined earlier, Marx's critique on the process of production (one extract from a deeply developed body of work) bears resemblance to the design activity in that it focuses on the production of an artifact described by an objective typology that can be empirically predicted and measured. Along this line, if the conclusion of his argument is carried out, it becomes evident that the full value of the designed artifact contains the abstract social and culturally symbolic properties of the commodity, which has consequences in the formation of social, political, and economic structures that, unchecked, contribute to the "repression, exploitation, and alienation embedded in western civilization" (Bronner 2012, 1). The model of critique can also be applied as a metaphor for the understanding of design wherein the product of labor (design activity, artifact, and body of knowledge), hinging on the intent to intervene, exists within this subjective attribution of those social properties that are exchanged as a whole. This valuation reveals that a comprehensive knowledge of design, alienated from its greater social context, is incomplete. In this instance, critical theory provides a framework within which to not only identify gaps in practice, but also to understand the social underpinnings of the concept of design, thus stabilizing it while allowing for the modication of its methods. Expanding critical theory into the formative steps of practical methodology and in the overarching philosophies of design serves to explicate the hidden inuences on the base of knowledge that informs the designer's predictive activity, which depends on understanding of extra-disciplinary contexts. For a postindustrial accession of Marx's use-value and symbolic exchange, as well as an 16 expansion of the linguistic properties of sign and fetish to the design product and process in the virtual realm, see Baudrillard (1981) (for starters).

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! 16 Theory in Practice All of this discussion about ideas, definitions, and theories of research have removed us once again from the activity, or practical application, of design. This is not to argue that these avenues of discourse bypass the real world, as in fact, Friedman (2003) points out that "a solid foundation of design knowledge anchored in broad research traditions gives each practitioner the access to the cumulative results of many other minds and the overall experience of a far larger field" (512). Without drawing any conclusions as to whether design should be treated as a "third area" of knowledge or given any special academic dispensation (as Simon 1981, Cross [1982] 2006, and Julier 2006 argue), it is important to recognize that design holds a unique position in the balance between theory and praxis. Empirical theory of design shows us that there are quantitative and qualitative measures (even immaterial ones) by which a design solution can be optimized, and critical theory reflects on social construction and issues of assumptions embedded in traditional forms of theory and methodology that contribute to "the false' truth of design as a practice that is only of occasion for the market" (Dilnot 2009, 181). A critical theory of design is not begging the dismissal of methodologies for empirical research. Instead, it provides a supplemental basis for uncovering the symbolic systems, ideological structures, and social and cultural contexts that influence every step of the design process, creating a motivated synthesis of the empirically driven scientific methods of science and the relational abstract methods of the humanities. Where design has been traditionally oriented toward product development that functions within the market relationship of manufacturer and consumer, critical theory reveals the need to address the potential for systemic ripple effects of the design activity. Bearing this extended nature of consequence in mind, many designers have begun to recognize the inherent limitations within traditional methods of practice and develop approaches that illustrate and respond to issues of concern

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! 17 within social contexts. Victor and Sylvia Margolin (2002) have identified programs in design that, while suffering from lack of theoretical explication and support, have evolved in focus from market needs to social needs, "ranging from the needs of developing countries, to the special needs of the aged, poor, and disabled" (24). Design activity that is oriented toward social impact takes into 17 account the elements of social need by including in its methods a means to ascertain the symbolic systems, ideological structures, and social and cultural contexts' that inform both problem and solution. By analyzing the following examples, I intend to identify the processes by which social dimensions of knowledge become incorporated into the methods of social impact practice. Empathic Design Because a designer is a thinker whose job it is to move from thought to action, the designer uses capacities of mind to solve problems for clients in an appropriate and empathic way (Friedman 2003, 511) As discussed earlier, emphasis on user experience has become of particular interest to designers in the wake of technological development that pushes practice toward information systems and human-computer interaction (Postma et al 2012, 30). Empathic Design is one method that emphasizes the designer's connection to the subjective user experience on multiple levels of the design process: observing the user's process of rationalization and emotion (research), making predictive inferences about user response, maintaining a dialogue with the user through all stages of the design process (prototyping), and interacting in cross-disciplinary learning experiences to broaden perspective (more research and evaluation) (32). Carolien Postma, Kristina Lauche, and Pieter Jan Stappers have identied, however, that the social realm plays a more determinative role in the human experience than has been recognized by established, individual-oriented empathic design methods. Seeking to provide a framework for Margolin and Margolin (2002) cite Victor Papanek's 1972 Design for the Real World as one of 17 the major texts that engaged a shift in practice toward social and environmental concerns (24).

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! 18 optimizing research in an environment that must contend with abstract, method-resistant social concepts as well as user data that has often been "pre-structured and pre-analyzed by the people researchers," they advocate for the incorporation of Activity Theory (33). Originating from Les Vygotsky's social constructivist approach to psychology, activity theory rejects the traditional understanding of behaviorist and subjectivist theories to study the mind as it operates under the inuence of external contexts (Tarbox 2006, 75). The subject who works toward an object or specic goal must in that process utilize various tools (artifacts) to negotiate within contextual factors such as rules (expectations and cultural norms), community that is working toward or impacted by the same object, and division of labor, all of which bring to the transaction a unique history that informs the decision-making process of the subject (75-76). In this instance, the designed artifact is not the end goal, but a tool to help the user meet his or her own needs within the context of the social environment, cultivating empathy from the designer who must understand these conditions to contribute to the user's goal. Judy D'Ammasso Tarbox raises this tool to analyze the designer as subject with the object of creating a successful design solution that communicates effectively within the context of use and value, illustrating the inuences that inform the design activity (76). In this way, activity theory provides an opportunity for reection similar to that of critical theory, calling attention to the web of context in which an object or activity is to be understood and providing insight on design's function as a social operative. Critical Design Another eld of design that addresses the social role of practice is that of Critical Design, "which seeks to disrupt or transgress social norms" (Bardzell et al 2012, 288). Where empathic design views the design solution as a tool to facilitate user activity, critical design views the

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! 19 solution as an interpretive lens through which the artifact itself, rather than directly intervening in social issues, becomes a framework for critically investigating "alternative social practices, values and technological possibilities that critique the assumed roles and functions for [design] products" (Bowen 2010, 1). Where the challenging concepts of critical theory can be difcult to align with the methodical practice of design, Bardzell et al (2012) have identied thematic aspects that provide objectives for critical practice: 1) Deploying semiotic strategies to explicate symbolic systems; 2) Proposing critical strategies for exposing hidden ideological structures; 3) Appropriating a critical theoretic vocabulary for exploring relationships among design artifact features and qualities, the phenomenology of user experiences, and the socio-cultural contexts in which these relations unfold; and 4) By maintaining an intellectual commitment to socially good and richly fullling aesthetic experiences (289) The resulting process is one that "encourage[s] complex and meaningful reection on inhabitation of a ubiquitous, dematerializing, and intelligent environment: a form of social research to integrate critical aesthetic experience with everyday life" (Dunne qtd in Bardzell 2012, 288). The design product resembles any other solution that adheres to formal expectations, but often dees its role as commodity, provoking the user to think critically about the normative acceptance of his or her own cultural roles and the factors that inform identity formation and attribute value. 18 Where the practice of critical design serves a purpose in prompting critical reflection on design's role in the formation of social structures, researchers have identified a gap in the prospect for impact, even pointing out how the potential elitism of the process interferes with "the democratic values of participatory design" (Bowen 2010, 1) (Bardzell et al 2012, 290). They do, however, provide insight on enacting the critical design approach to create a successful research Among the most well-known critical design products are those of Dunne & Raby which fall 18 into the category of industrial design, but the principles apply to any domain of design practice.

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! 20 plan and solution. First, designers must understand the balance of novelty and familiarity to sustain interest and create effective provocation through rapid prototyping (too strange and the user is turned off, too conventional and the user fails to distinguish critical meaning). Second, designers (as researchers) should form a deep relationship with the participant users that break through initial misconceptions on all contributing sides. Third, designers must allow for flexibility within the research plan, leaving "room for research subjects to shape the critical dialogue" (296). Applying the principles of critical theory in conjunction with a method-oriented focus allows the design process to work in the spaces where empirical research fails to create comprehensive understanding of the social and cultural systems necessary to inform predictive activity. Human-Centered Design Arising from method formalization that occurred in computing and system-related inquiries of the 1980s, humanor user-centered design focuses on the characteristics and needs of the user that can be analyzed and experimentally tested through iterative prototyping to develop an integrative design solution (Friess 2010, 41). The process has since inuenced adaptation of methodology in other domains of design (from product to communication to environment), but the primary objective that has remained constant through the many iterative versions of human-centered design is to research the intended user population and develop formal and functional components of the product based on the results (42). Erin Friess points out a tendency of "traditional" methods of human-centered design to lean too heavily on the use of empirical data to drive design decisions, rendering the approach "no longer just human centered but empirically centered. Rather than being guided by interactions with end users, designers are being forced into the role of engineer, making decisions based solely on quantiable and easily

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! 21 relatable data gathered from the end users" (40). This condition, while omitting extant social 19 and emotional contexts of the user (unless reported as signicant in data ndings), also disregards the designer's perspective and intuition, which plays an equally important role in informing the value of the design interaction. Friess (2010) advocates for a revision to human-centered design which places the designer, with the ability to contemplate issues of implication beyond the empirical, as the human facilitator at the center of the process (48), a principle that has been at the core of approaches promoted by designers such as Tim Brown and David Kelley at IDEO. Placing a balanced method of human-centered design at the forefront of practice, IDEO formulated a method that exists in the spaces of inspiration, ideation, and implementation (Brown and Wyatt 2010, 33). Operating on the idea that the designer's approach to problem solving comes from "our ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, to construct ideas that have emotional meaning as well as being functional, and to express ourselves in media other than words or symbols," Brown stresses that design thinking is a "deeply human" activity that can be put to use by designers and non-designers alike (30). From this platform, the team at IDEO developed a comprehensive instructional program designed to assist leaders and change-makers of all kinds (especially popular with non-prots and other social enterprises) to move beyond conventional problem solving by nding concrete ways to navigate frequently dismissed intuititive and empathetic aspects that can reveal unanticipated consequences of the design activity (30). The Friess (2010) bases her assessment on the idea that design serves a rhetorical function (posed 19 by Richard Buchanan and others) in that the artifact, rather than functioning simply as a thing,' is actually a persuasive argument enacted when its value is demonstrated through use or considered use. In this light, an empirically-centered process is really a logoscentered process, stripping the designer of rhetorical agency (45) by discounting the intuitive, empathic, and conscientious factors necessary to create a persuasive, communicative solution that can fulll its function in the design-and-society relationship

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! 22 human-centered design method becomes useful in many contexts from product, communication, and environment design to organizational and educational restructuring, "empower[ing] both the designers who make the product and the users who incorporate the product into their lives (Friess 2010, 49) (Brown and Wyatt 2001, 29). Each of these practices, while operating on distinct methodologies, reveals shared tendencies in social impact orientation as described above. First, whether regarded as a participant, consumer, or evaluator, user perspective plays an informant role in dening the design problem as well as developing a solution. Second, methods also require a dimension of transdisciplinary collaboration to reveal the extrinsic contexts (often social and systemic) and analyze quantitative and qualitative research. Finally, successful implementation involves critical reection on the design process from problem to solution in an iterative course of evaluation. These themes, consistent in emerging elds of practice, highlight opportunities for application at a higher level of design framework that emphasizes recognition and critical evaluation of social contexts to inuence practice regardless of the domain or eld. Design without Borders A human-based perspective on design research implies that it should be viewed in the same light as these other disciplines that involve research into human action and, in consequence, needs a similar level of attention to epistemological and ontological issues relating to theories involving humans in design (Love 2000, 10) After analyzing historical and contemporary denitions of design as well as theoretical inuences, I've established that there needs to be a framework within the design discourse that recognizes the social context within which the design activity is carried out, embracing transdisciplinary and critical sources of knowledge while still emphasizing the methodological needs of the design process. Examples of social impact practice, which address some of these issues, reveal corresponding methods that, despite being relegated to niche elds of design, set a

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! 23 guide for implementation at a more inclusive level of methodology. The following candidates are only the beginning for potential solutions, but offer a starting point from which to research highlevel incorporation of awareness for the design-and-society relationship. Metatheory One potential avenue for emphasis on the social context of design is to produce theory that is informative and credible to researchers in other elds by including relevant concepts in metatheoretical structures, such as the establishment of a design worldview posed by Galle (2008) and the framework for meta-analysis put forth by Terence Love (2000). Though each endeavor explores different means of establishing coherency, both researchers explore the function of a metatheory of design as a means to address the discipline's incoherent knowledgebase at an abstracted level, "provid[ing] a structured means of identifying which elements of design theory might contribute to a truly simplifying paradigm' of design research, and which potentially simplifying paradigms are epistemologically inappropriate (Love 2000, 312-313). The primary issue at the core of what Galle (2008) calls The Problem of Disintegration is the fact that many researchers draw conicting theoretical conclusions under "nonand preempirical metaphysical assumptions we make about the ultimate nature of reality, often tacitly and unknowingly, because we tend to take them for granted" (268). Operating from the premise that ontological (exploring what design is) and epistemological (exploring how design works) theories of design inherently deal with the predictive and articial qualities of process and artifact that exist only in abstract terms, he puts philosophical elucidation to work as a hedge against future inconsistency (279). Setting out criteria for establishing a "principled and systematic" metaphysical worldview of design, he reviews established theoretical candidates

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! 24 (realist and nominalist) from other metaphysical disciplines based on how they can assist with identifying the subject area of design activity and enabling validation of prediction (281). In light of the predictive nature of the design activity, the nominalist inclusion of Fictionalism, arising from theories of mathematics, stands as an optimal framework of inclusion for concepts that promote awareness of the social context of design. Where a design prediction is considered "literally false," its validity can still be measured in the relative, process-informed context of the story of design' (Galle 2008, 286-88). It is within the contextual development of 20 the design story that concepts of design's interrelationship to social and cultural formation can be applied. Validation of design predictions depend on the full network of story-specic agents and consequences, including user perspective and transdisciplinary collaboration, which must be researched and placed in the context of implementation (287). Here, critical theory incorporated into the design story also provides a clue in establishing the subject area of design as symbolic interaction, justifying the shift of focus from artifact to activity, as illustrated in frameworks such as JŸrgen Habermas's Theory of Communicative Action in which an actor operating from a perceived reality chooses a type of social action to effect change within an existing state of affairs (Cecez-Kecmanovic 1999, 2). This framework demonstrates the predictive development 21 Acknowledging theories of design that nd comparable qualities to linguistic symbolism, 20 Galle points out that concepts that dene the cohesive context of the design story can be represented either narratively (verbally or symbolically), or geometrically (planes of mathematical and visual representation). Habermas lays out a framework to identify types of social action in a world dened by 21 normative contexts of interaction, including communicative action which "denotes interaction of social actors oriented to reaching understanding, in which they relate simultaneously to the objective, social and subjective worlds." The Theory of Communicative Action has played in an inuential role in the development of design theory and method particularly in the domain of information systems (Cecez-Kecmanovic 1999, 2).

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! 25 of the perceived design story' while the chosen action enables connection "with the practicalities of everyday life in a more robust way" (Galle 2008, 288) Continuing the theme of addressing problematic description, Love (2000) identies a trend in design theory and research that breaks down over semantic and metaphorical confusion prompted by conated and poorly dened concepts and paradigmatic shifts in theory which fail to distinguish new transcriptions of vocabulary from old contexts (299). Underscoring the idea 22 that a human-centered consideration of design must incorporate all branches and subdisciplines (including design science, design history, methods, research, criticism, etc) as well as nd communicative relevance to related elds in the social sciences, this lack of coherency poses a difcult imposition to those who wish to further study of design from within the discipline and without (300). To address both of these issues and "hasten the process" of clarifying conceptual relation and efcacy, Love focuses his proposal on establishing a common framework of analysis for all reaches of design (299). In order to accomplish this task, he devises a taxonomy of critical meta-analysis that eliminates conation and false identication of concepts by allowing subdisciplines and paradigms to be examined independently within the appropriate classication: 1) Direct perception of realities This is the level at which we sit on chairs', watch sunsets', hear the sound of a bird' 2) Description of Objects The level that encompasses simple descriptions of objects, processes and systemsa vacuum cleaner', a typeface', a database' 3) Behaviour of Elements The level at which the behaviour of elements which may be incorporated into objects, processes and systems is described. For example, headline type needs to be set closer than body text', the melody returns to the tonic' I experienced difculty with this very problem in my own research. Identifying and 22 understanding the connections between theories of varying avenues of discourse provides a challenge in holistically describing the problem of design. I have attempted for this paper to standardize terminology, or at least explain deviations, but recognize that there is much more work to be done in building a clear foundation of concept for a unifying discourse of design.

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! 26 4) Mechanisms of Choice The level of descriptions about the way that choices are made between different objects, processes, or systems, and how solutions are evaluated. For example Why does a woodworker choose a claw hammer rather than a sledge hammer for hammering a small nail?' 5) Design Methods The level in which theories about and proposals for design methods and techniques are describedThe theories about designing wood artefacts. How does one design a chair?' 6) Design Process Structure The level that includes the theories about the underlying structure of design process, and the inuences of domain, culture, artefact type and other similar attributes and circumstances. For example, What are the processes underlying the design of Polynesian catamarans?' 7) Theories about the Internal Processes of Designers and Collaboration This level includes the descriptions of theories about the reasoning and cognition of individual designers, of negotiated design in collaborative design teams, and of cultural design effects on designers' output. For example, How did Mackintosh design furniture?' What communication is necessary between the different designers of timber framed housing?' 8) General Design Theories This is the level that is concerned with the details of those general theories which seek to describe the whole activity of designing and its relationship to the objects involved. For example, The activity of designing a boat, or a turbine, or a comic strip can be described as follows.' 9) Epistemology of Design Theory and the Theories of Objects This is the level that contains those analyses and discussions about the critical study of the nature, grounds, limits and criteria or validity of design knowledgeWhat is a theory of design?', What does it include and exclude?', On what assumptions is this theory based?' 10) Ontology of Design The philosophical study of the ontological basis for design theory and the activity of designing. It is at this level where human values, and the values and fundamental assumptions of researchers, are included in critiques of theory. For example, Which human values and assumptions effect the design of new legislation for narcotics?', Are the methods of evaluation used to choose between different design alternatives consistent with the ethical proscriptions of the relevant professional bodies?', What is reality?', What is existence?' (305-306) Love's taxonomy covers elements of both scientic, or empirical, theory and formal analysis (categories 1-5) as well as abstracted concepts within the metaphysical considerations (9-10), combining elements of the two perspectives to cover the fuzzy area of qualitative descriptive processes (6-8), all with emphasis on the human experience as a key factor (303). While the

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! 27 consideration of social contexts of design, neither through the sample-set standards of practice nor through inclusion of critical theory, are explicitly mentioned, it is easy to nd applicable categories of analysis within this framework. For example, the requirement of social impact practice (above) that user perspective plays a prominent role in dening the design problem as well as developing a solution' touches on categories 4-7, while the application of critical theory is most likely to be relevant in categories 6, 7, 9, and 10. Both of these metatheoretical frameworks explore the nature and method of design on a high level that is inclusive of elements of practice and theory from all domains of the eld. Issues of coherency and Galle's (2008) Problem of Disintegration are addressed in open criteria for ontological and epistemological analysis, leaving room to explore the design-and-society relationship as it applies to the development of other theories within the body of design knowledge. Design's interrelation to transdisciplinary, societal and cultural contexts, however, remains an implicit suggestion in these frameworks to be pursued only by the researcher who is so-inclined. The effectiveness of meta-analysis as an inuence on the recognition of social context also faces a challenge in that it necessarily maintains a distance from the practicalities of implementation, requiring another supplemental means of conveyance for ideas of social impact. Design Culture If both people and things are actors, that they are affective in the processes through which we live and decisions are made, then all those parts should be understood fully. This means that not only the people and institutions are studied but the patina of things should also be closely observed. (Julier 2011, 1) Recognizing the need to incorporate theory and methods that expatiate the design-andsociety relationship on a level that will more directly affect conscientious practice, another avenue for exploration is in the way that design is studied. According to Richard Buchanan (2001), among the characteristics that make design unique is that it integrates knowledge from many other

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! 28 disciplines to actively impact "human life and serve human beings in the accomplishment of their individual and collective goals" (17). As such, this distinctive formation of knowledge requires a means of comprehensive study for the broad range of factors that contribute to and result from the activity of design. Operating from foundational commonalities in Visual Culture and Material Culture, Guy Julier (2006) has laid the foundation to develop a discipline of Design Culture which combines all of the corresponding areas of theory, research, methodology, and practice, along with disciplinary and intersecting social and cultural studies (64). In chorus with Dilnot's ([1982] 2006) assertion that design activity (not the object or the design problem) is the center of concept, Julier (2006) argues that, in order to be fully effective in developing a living body of knowledge, the subject of design culture must necessarily remove itself from the limiting centrality of the design object "to be used or read [and instead focus on] the structuring systems of encounter within the visual and material world" (67). He lays the groundwork for this objective directly from the critical concepts that highlight the dynamic and often asymmetrical societal relationships that have become the subject of visual culture, marking the alienating commodification of phenomena, and material culture, focusing on quotidian systems of object consumption. Design culture informed by formal literacy of the design discipline as well as the social and cultural literacy of other fields, addresses the gap between these two approaches, extending the critical perspective to the wide range of visual and electronic media, environments, organizational systems, and reproductive processes through which design can be encountered (69). The concepts for inclusion in the discipline are examined and categorized according to functional integration with social and cultural systems (rather than relation to design artifact): Value The designer's role is in the creation of value, including commercial, social, cultural, environmental, political, and symbolic.

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! 29 Circulation A range of straightforward elements that underpin and shape the productive processes, including available technology, environmental, and human factors. Practice The engagement of design products, processes, and systems in everyday life is not merely a function of consumer culture in its traditional sense [but] layers of socially-constituted activities in which individuals are carriers of collectively held practices, and may comprise sets of conventions and procedures. (74) The shared criteria identied through earlier analysis of social impact practice (see Theory in Practice' above)active inclusion of user perspective, transdisciplinary revelation of extrinsic contexts and qualied research, and iterative process of critical reection and response which fall under the practice category of this framework, also resist focus on the artifact as the terminal objective of the design activity. Within the context of design culture, however, the elucidation of these imperatives through a network of critical reection and transdisciplinary triangulation become relevant for application in the metanarrative of design. The social focus of the design culture perspective also provides insight into the nature of design itself, which is often represented as "disembedded, free-oating and frictionless" (3), by building a foundation for critical and cultural evaluation and placing the concepts of design within active contexts. Dori Tunstall recognizes the signicant role that designers perform in creating artifacts that incorporate communicative aspects of cultural value, saying "design's superpower is its ability to make abstract values realsomething you can negotiate, something you can discuss with people" (Millman and Tunstall 2011, 24:49). In this way, the expansive discipline of design culture offers insight to the shifting values of both design and society that is informed not only by awareness of relevant academic elds, but with a developed prociency for "material and spatial literacy" (Julier 2011, 5; Millman and Tunstall 2011). Recommending the perspective of the designer as a locator and supplier of knowledge for other elds of cultural study, such as anthropology or sociology, seems to be a reversal of the previously argued role in which

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! 30 transdisciplinary collaboration serves to provide knowledge and context to the design process. But according to Julier, design can offer a specially honed perspective to understanding and deepening comprehension of local ecologies, creating a "dignity of the specic" that contributes to the larger dialogue of cultural identity and formation. "By being a participant researcher, by sharing the results and insights of that research, and even to make proposals or carry out actions that stem from a deep understanding, design culture becomes not just the subject of study, but an affective means or an attitudinal approach where the researcher is a knowing interventionist" (6). Conclusion It is certainly important that designers know how to create visual symbols for communication and how to construct physical artifacts, but unless these become part of the living experience of human beings, sustaining them in the performance of their own actions and experiences, visual symbols and things have no value or signicant meaning. Therefore, we should consciously consider the possibility that our communications and constructions are, in some sense, forms of action. (Buchanan 2001, 11) In this investigation on the nature of design as it relates to society, there remains a wide range of interlinking subjects that were either only briefly touched on or fully omitted from consideration (including questions of ethical implication, environmental consideration, and educational programs that omit theoretical and cultural studies from vocational practice), which indicates that there is much more extensive work to be done in order to draw a formalized, comprehensive discipline of design knowledge, if that is the goal. My analysis covers just a small offering in the broader spectrum of attempts to define, theorize, and legitimize a discrete discipline of design, but, even in limited overview, the implicit notion that there is an effective relation of design to the broader agency of human experience and social structures becomes explicitly apparent. Without acquiescing to the pressure to arrive at a singular interpretation of the design identity or to create a fixed sense that all design must practice in interventions specifically for social impact (though it is this author's position that designers can be uniquely effective in such a role), it

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! 31 can still be said that there is an imperative within the meta-discourse for evaluation of design's interdependent position to society. Designers as agents of production do not operate alien from the context in which they are also consumers, and more and more, consumers are invited into the design process as active agents in the development of the design solution. This intersection carries with it all of the weight of predictive and communicative actions that bear social, political, and economic consequence on the intervention of design activity. In the shifting paradigms of design toward user centrality, care must be taken to examine social dimensions of purpose and value. Inclusion of critical reection and transdisciplinary insight at all points of activity and study (practice, research, theory and culture) is crucial for revealing the underpinnings of social structure and establishing concepts of design that transcend explanation of what it is in order to understand what it does Examination of existing methods of social impact practice yields emphasis on the symbolic systems, ideological structures, and social and cultural contexts' that heavily inuence the design process in all elds and to this point have only been passively incorporated in broad disciplinary practice and discourse. By placing these evaluative concepts within a framework of metatheoretical and cultural studies, the abstract constituents that dene the human experience become discernible, giving active cause for designers to become aware of the particular social systems in which the design process and artifact develop meaning and accrue value, and availing them of "the condence to reassert over against the marketthe absolute primacy of the interests of human beings in a human future" (Dilnot 2009, 182).

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! 32 References Archer, Bruce. 1979. "Design as a Discipline." Design Studies 1, (1): 1720. doi: 10.1016/0142-694X(79)90023-1. Baljon, Cornelis J. 2002. "History of History and Canons of Design." Design Studies 23 (3): 33343. doi:10.1016/S0142-694X(01)00042-4. Bardzell, S, J Bardzell, and J Forlizzi. 2012. "Critical Design and Critical Theory: The Challenge of Designing for Provocation." In Proceedings of the Designing Interactive Systems Conference on In the Wild DIS 2012 28897. Newcastle, UK: Publisher: ACM Press. doi:10.1145/2317956.2318001. Baudrillard, Jean. (1981) 2009. "Desogm and Environment or How Political Economy Escalates into Cyberblitz" In Design Studies: A Reader. Edited by Hazel Clark and David Brody, 154-59. Reprint. Oxford: Berg. Bayazit, Nigan. 2004. "Investigating Design: A Review of Forty Years of Design Research." Design Issues 20, (1): 1629. doi: 10.1162/074793604772933739. Bonsieppe, Gui. (2006) 2009. "Design and Democracy" In Design Studies: A Reader. ed. Hazel Clark and David Brody, 16-19. Reprint. Oxford: Berg Bowen, Simon. 2010. "Critical Theory and Participatory Design." In Proceedings of CHI 2010 16. Atlanta, GA: ACM. doi:978-1-60558-930-5/10/04. Bronner, Stephen Eric. 2011. Critical Theory: A Very Short Introduction Oxford: Oxford University Press. Brown, Tim, and Jocelyn Wyatt. 2010. "Design Thinking for Social Innovation." Stanford Social Innovation Review Winter (Winter 2010). Stanford Social Innovation Review [Internet]: 3035. doi:10.1108/10878571011042050. Buchanan, Richard. 2001. "Design Research and the New Learning." Design Issues 17 (4): 324. doi: 10.1162/07479360152681056 Buchanan, Richard. 2001. "Human Dignity and Human Rights: Thoughts on the Principles of Human-Centered Design." Design Issues 17 (3): 3539. doi: 10.1162/074793601750357178. Buckley, Cheryl. 1986. "Made in Patriarchy: Toward a Feminist Analysis of Women and Design." Design Issues 3 (2): 314. doi:10.2307/1511480.

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! 33 Clark, Hazel. 2009. Introduction to Identity and Consumption." In Design Studies: A Reader. ed. Hazel Clark and David Brody, 298-300. Oxford: Berg. Cross, Nigel. (1982) 2006. "Designerly Ways of Knowing." In Designerly Ways of Knowing 1-12. Reprint. London: Springer Cecez-Kecmanovic, Dubravka, and Janson Marius. 1999. "Re-Thinking Habermas's Theory of Communicative Action in Information Systems." University of Missouri-St. Louis. http:// www.umsl.edu/~jansonma/myarticles/habermas.pdf Dilnot, Clive. 1982. "Design as a socially significant activity: An introduction." Design Studies 3, (3): 139-46. doi:10.1016/0142-694X(82)90006-0. Dilnot, Clive. 2009. "Ethics In Design: 10 Questions." In Design Studies: A Reader. ed. Hazel Clark and David Brody, 180-90. Oxford: Berg Douglas, Mary and Baron Isherwood. (1996) 2009. "The Technology of Consumption." In Design Studies: A Reader. Edited by Hazel Clark and David Brody, 301-09. Reprint. Oxford: Berg Friedman, Ken. 2003. "Theory construction in design research: criteria: approaches, and methods." Design Studies 24, (3): 507-22. doi:10.1016/S0142-694X(03)00039-5. Friess, Erin. 2010. "The Sword of Data: Does Human-Centered Design Fulfill Its Rhetorical Responsibility?" Design Issues 26 (3): 4050. http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/ 10.1162/DESI_a_00028. Forty, Adrian. (1986) 2009. ("Design, Designers, and the Literature of Design." In Design Studies: A Reader. Edited by Hazel Clark and David Brody, 16-19. Reprint. Oxford: Berg Foster, Hal. 2002. Design and Crime (And Other Diatribes) 13-25. New York: Verso. Galle, Per. 2008. "Candidate worldviews for design theory." Design Studies 29, (3): 267-303. doi:10.1016/j.destud.2008.02.001. Gorman, R. 2001. "And Rethinking : Reshaping Recent Feminist Scholarship on Design and Designers Carma." Design Issues 17 (4): 7288. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1511921. Howells, R. 2014. "The Aesthetics of Utopia: Creation, Creativity and a Critical Theory of Design." Thesis Eleven 123 (1): 4161. doi:10.1177/0725513614543414.

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! 34 Jones, John C. (1992) 2009. "What Is Designing?" In Design Studies: A Reader. Edited by Hazel Clark and David Brody, 77-80. Reprint. Oxford: Berg. Julier, Guy. 2006. "From Visual to Design Culture." Design Issues 22 (1): 6476. doi: 10.1162/074793606775247817. Julier, Guy. 2011. "Locating Design Cultures." In Talk given at Premsela Design Cultures Symposium, 16. VU Amsterdam. http://www.designculture.info/reviews/ArticleStash/ GJLocatingDesignCultures2011.pdf. Love, Terence. 2000. "Philosophy of Design: A Meta-Theoretical Structure for Design Theory." Design Studies 21 (3): 293313. doi:10.1016/S0142-694X(99)00012-5. Love, Terence. 2002. "Constructing a Coherent Cross-Disciplinary Body of Theory about Designing and Designs: Some Philosophical Issues." Design Studies 23 (3): 34561. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0142694X01000436. Margolin, Victor. 1992. "Design History or Design Studies: Subject Matter and Methods." Design Studies 13 (2): 10416. doi:10.1016/0142-694X(92)90250-E. Margolin, Victor, and Sylvia Margolin. 2002. "A Social Model' of Design: Issues of Practice and Research." Design Issues 18, (4): 24-30. doi:10.1162/074793602320827406. Marx, Karl. (1906) 2009. "The Fetishism of Commodities and the Secret Thereof" In Design Studies: A Reader. Edited by Hazel Clark and David Brody, 194-97. Reprint. Oxford: Berg. Millman, Debbie and Dori Tunstall. 2011 Dori Tunstall Design Matters with Debbie Millman. Podcast audio. Accessed October 23, 2014. http://observermedia.designobserver.com/ Nadler, Gerald. 1980. "A timeline theory of planning and design." Design Studies 1, no. 5: 299-307. doi:10.1016/0142-694X(80)90064-2. Phillips, D. C. 1987. Philosophy, Science, and Social Inquiry. Oxford: Pergamon Press. Postma, Carolien, Kristina Lauche, Pieter Jan Stappers. 2012. "Social Theory as a Thinking Tool for Empathic Design." Design Issues 28 (1): 3049. doi:10.1162/DESI_a_00122. Reynolds, Paul Davidson. 1971. A Primer in Theory Construction Indianapolis: BobbsMerrill Co., Inc. Schšn, Donald A. (1988) 2009. "Designing: Rules, Types and Worlds." In Design Studies: A Reader edited by Hazel Clark and David Eric Brody, 110-14. Reprint. Oxford: Berg.

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! 35 Simon, Herbert A. 1981. The Sciences of the Artificial 2nd ed. Cambridge: MIT. Tarbox, Judy D'Ammasso. 2006. "Activity Theory: A Model for Design Research." In Design Studies: Theory and Research in Graphic Design, A Reader. Edited by Audrey Bennett, 73-83. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Terzidis, Kostas. 2007. "The Etymology of Design: Pre-Socratic Perspective." Design Issues 23, no. 4 (2007): 69-78. Accessed April 22, 2014. doi:10.1162/desi.2007.23.4.69. Ullman, David. 1991. "The status of design theory research in the United States." Design Studies 12, (4): 204-208. doi:10.1016/0142-694X(91)90032-R. Wang, David, and Ali O. Ilhan. 2009. "Holding Creativity Together: A Sociological Theory of the Design Professions." Design Issues 25 (1): 521. doi:10.1162/desi.2009.25.1.5.