|Review of The Design of Everyday Things (Don Norman)|
|Review of Systemisches Design (Cyris Khazaeli)|
By , SAP AG – March 19, 2007
This review takes a personal look at the book How Designers Think by Bryan Lawson.
Bryan Lawson studied at the Oxford School of Architecture followed by a period in the Applied Psychology Department at the University of Aston in Birmingham where he obtained his Masters and Doctorate. He is a qualified architect. He has particular experience in the design of buildings for the health service, and is a member of the HEFC Research Assessment Exercise Panel for the Built Environment. Lawson is also Dean of the Faculty of Architectural Studies at The University of Sheffield.
This book, which touches on the basics of the complex and difficult topic of design, should be standard reading for all those with a general interest in the topic. It attempts to explain design by analyzing the basic factors involved: the designer, the process of design, the product produced, and the customer. The book profits from the fact that it is already in its fourth edition and from its author, who has extensive design experience.
The book is intended for students, instructors, designers, and researchers of interactive systems coming from such diverse backgrounds as computer science, psychology, industrial engineering, technical writing, communications and media, product design, graphic design, and education.
The author has structured his book in three parts. In the first, he introduces the topic of design by simply asking and answering the question “What is design?” The second part focuses on the pragmatic approach to design and is accordingly entitled “Problems and Solutions.” The last part, “Design Thinking,” deals with the thought processes required to identify and understand design problems and create solutions.
The book has had some key moments for me especially by revealing and explaining the logic between craft and design and touching on the design process from different perspectives. I also liked Lawson’s definition of design, which he generally sees as more of a productive process. This is also reflected in the passages on the changing roles of designers: He defines the role of a designers not only as secluded idea machines anymore. Rather he sees new roles of a desigers who also incorporate the outside world and their target users into the creative process.By providing many literary sources on design and related topics like art, philosophy, psychology etc., the author
proves that he has followed the discourse on design beyond the last decade. For aspiring young designers, this provides excellent insight into early thinking on design. In many points, the author does well to demonstrate the evolution and process of design theory throughout the last decade.
I can definitely recommend this book. Even though it comes across as standard, classic literature on design, I found it a very interesting and fresh read. If you are interested in design and the creative mindset, you should read it. It is a worthy addition to any book collection on design.