This course will be offered residentially at the West Lafayette campus in the Fall 2021 semester.

Mondays, 3:30-6:20PM
WTHR 301

This course provides an overview of theories and approaches to the transdisciplinary concept of design, spanning multiple disciplines and types of design outputs with a focus on technology. Students will read the work of leading design scholars, and situate their personal approach to design practice and research based on historical and current trends in the literature.
Student work will be focused on theoretical and practical outcomes, with two main learning goals:

  1. Building upon and critiquing theories, methods, and processes of design in their original research; and
  2. Generating an awareness and representation of their personal design philosophy.

Topics include: design as the “first tradition”; design, art, and craft; design theory; design as everyday and professional; design across disciplines; design as problem framing; design process(es); design judgment; design research and practice; design beyond the physical; design expertise; design and values; design, ethics, and society; and design philosophy.

Learning Objectives

This course includes several learning objectives for each course goal:
Students will critically assess the nature of design and design practice, indicated by their ability to:

  • Situate design as a unique epistemology and ontology
  • Explain key aspects of design activity
  • Identify scholars, seminal works, and theories relating to design
  • Distinguish between everyday & professional design, craft, and art
  • Critique theoretical foundations of their own discipline using the language and constructs of design theory

Students will generate an understanding and awareness of their own design philosophy, indicated by their ability to:

  • Identify and articulate vital components of their design activity
  • Synthesize and prioritize their design commitments
  • Communicate their philosophy of design in multiple discipline-appropriate ways

Course Requirements

The following activities are required, with the associated impact on the final grade:
20%         Reading responses
20%         Design philosophy statement and presentation
25%          Research practicum
25%         Design Investigations
10%          Participation and engagement


These readings are from the Fall 2019 offering of the course, and are subject to change. 

Albrechtslund, A. (2007). Ethics and technology design. Ethics and Information Technology, 9(1), 63-72.

Buchanan, R. (1995). Rhetoric, humanism and design. In V. Margolin & R. Buchanan (Eds.), Discovering design: Explorations in design studies (pp. 23-66). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Buchanan, R. (2015). Worlds in the making: Design, management, and the reform of organizational culture. She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation, 1(1), 5-21.

Cross, N. (2001). Designerly ways of knowing: Design discipline versus design science. Design Issues, 17(3), 49-55.

Cross, N. (2004). Expertise in design: An overview. Design Studies, 25(5), 427-441.

Devendorf, L., & Rosner, D. K. (2017). Beyond Hybrids: Metaphors and Margins in Design. In Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (pp. 995–1000). New York, NY: ACM Press.

Dorst, K. (2015). Frame innovation: Create new thinking by design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (pp. 73-98).

Dorst, K., & Cross, N. (2001). Creativity in the design process: Co-evolution of problem—solution. Design Studies, 22(5), 425-437.

Dunne, A. (2005). (In)human factors. In Hertzian tales: Electronic products, aesthetic experience, and critical design (pp. 21-42). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Forlano, L. (2017). Posthumanism and Design. She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation, 3(1), 16–29.

Friedman, B., & Kahn Jr, P. H. (2003). Human values, ethics, and design. In J. A. Jacko & A. Sears (Eds.), The human-computer interaction handbook (pp. 1177-1201). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Friedman, K. (2003). Theory construction in design research: Criteria: Approaches, and methods. Design Studies, 24(6), 507-522.

Goel, V. (1995). Sketches of thought. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. (pp. 1-25).

Goel, V., & Pirolli, P. (1992). The structure of design problem spaces. Cognitive Science, 16(3), 395-429.

Gray, C. M. (2016). “It’s more of a mindset than a method”: UX practitioners’ conception of design methods. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 4044-4055). New York, NY: ACM Press.

Gray, C. M., & Boling, E. (2016). Inscribing ethics and values in designs for learning: A problematic. Educational Technology Research & Development, 64(5), 969-1001.

Gray, C. M., Stolterman, E., & Siegel, M. A. (2014). Reprioritizing the relationship between HCI research and practice: Bubble-Up and trickle-down effects. In DIS’14: Proceedings of the 2014 CHI conference on designing interactive systems (pp. 725-734). New York, NY: ACM Press.

Harrison, S., Back, M., & Tatar, D. (2006). It’s just a method!”: A pedagogical experiment in interdisciplinary design. In DIS’06: Proceedings of the 6th conference on Designing Interactive Systems (pp. 261-270). New York, NY: ACM Press.

Hatchuel, A., & Weil, B. (2003). A new approach of innovative design: An introduction to CK theory. In Proceedings of ICED ‘03, The 14th international conference on engineering design. Stockholm, SE: The Design Society.

Holt, J. E. (1997). The designer’s judgement. Design Studies, 18(1), 113-123.

Jonassen, D. H. (2000). Toward a design theory of problem solving. Educational Technology Research & Development, 48(4), 63-85.

Kolko, J. (2018). The divisiveness of design thinking. Interactions, 25(3), 28–34.

Krippendorf, K. (2006). The semantic turn: A new foundation for design. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. (pp. 1-37).

Lawson, B. (2004). Schemata, gambits and precedent: Some factors in design expertise. Design Studies, 25(5), 443-457.

Lawson, B., & Dorst, K. (2009). Design expertise. Oxford, UK: Architectural Press. (pp. 81-112).

Manzini, E. (2015). Design, when everybody designs: An introduction to design for social innovation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (pp. 9-27).

McCarthy, J., & Wright, P. (2015). Taking [a]part: The politics and aesthetics of participation in experience-centered design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (pp. 1-18).

Rittel, H. (1984). Second-generation design methods. In N. Cross (Ed.) Developments in Design Methodology (pp. 317-327). Chichester, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Rittel, H., & Webber, M. (1984). Planning problems are wicked problems. In N. Cross (Ed.), Developments in Design Methodology (pp. 135-144). Chichester, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Rosner, D. K. (2018). Critical Fabulations: Reworking the Methods and Margins of Design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (pp. 23-40)

Schön, D. A. (1990). The design process. In V. A. Howard (Ed.), Varieties of thinking: Essays from Harvard’s philosophy of education research center (pp. 111-141). New York, NY: Routledge.

Stolterman, E. (2008). The nature of design practice and implications for interaction design research. International Journal of Design, 2(1), 55-65.

Stolterman, E. (2018). Herbert Marcuse and the “one-dimensional man”. In J. Bardzell, S. Bardzell and M. Blythe (Eds.). Critical Theory and Interaction Design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

van Wynsberghe, A., & Robbins, S. (2014). Ethicist as designer: A pragmatic approach to ethics in the lab. Science and Engineering Ethics, 20(4), 947-61.

Verbeek, P. -P. (2006). Materializing morality: Design ethics and technological mediation. Science, technology & human values, 31(3), 361-380.

Vermaas, P. E., Kroes, P., Light, A., Moore, S. A. (Eds). (2009). Philosophy and design: From engineering to architecture.Dordrecht, NL: Springer. (pp. 1-20).

Vinck, D. (2009). Everyday engineering: An ethnography of design and innovation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (pp. 1-27)

Winchester, W. W., III. (2018). Afrofuturism, inclusion, and the design imagination. Interactions, 25(2), 41–45.