A crowd gathers as Don Norman prepares to speak on the Future of Design at the New School of Architecture.
At the New School of Architecture in Downtown San Diego, Don Norman, Director of the UC San Diego Design Lab, spoke to a large crowd about how the field of design is changing and becoming central to education and business. Counter to what most people think, Don emphasized that the field of design is not about making things look attractive. For Don and many others at the Design Lab at UC San Diego, design is a way of thinking.
“One of the important skills a good designer brings to the table is figuring out what the right problem is,” says Don. “Clients say what they want to achieve and the designer comes up with a solution, but they never really address the problem. If you dig a little deeper for the fundamental issues, your research can lead to innovative solutions, sometimes completely eliminating the original problem.”
Traditional design emphasizes craft skills, but modern design emphasizes thinking skills. This produces two paths for designers: craft skills or thinking skills? Which path should designers take? Don often responds to this question with a famous quote from Yogi Berra. “When you come to a fork in the road, take it,” he says. At UC San Diego’s Design Lab, Don’s team of researchers and students work to tackle the complex problems in education, healthcare and automation utilizing modern design-thinking skills. They believe design thinking or cognitive design… is the future of design.
ABOUT DON NORMAN:
Don Norman is Director of the Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego where he is also professor emeritus of psychology, cognitive science, and electrical and computer engineering. He has been a VP of Apple, executive at HP, and Design Prof. at Northwestern and KAIST (Korea). He is co-founder of the Nielsen Norman group, an IDEO Fellow, honorary fellow of the Design Research Society, member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, trustee of IIT’s Institute of Design, and an honorary professor at Tongji University, Shanghai. He has honorary degrees from Delft, Padua, and San Marino, the lifetime achievement award in HCI from CHI, and the President’s lifetime achievement award from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. He has published 20 books translated into 20 languages including Emotional Design and Design of Everyday Things.