Hailey Coral


Design Systems Thinking Post 3

Though there have been several articles I have read this quarter that are formed around design research, the proposal written by Meredith Davis, the Director of Graduate Programs in Graphic Design at NC State University, talks about the research process as it relates to the design education system, rather than just the overall research system. I have seen many different circle-like plans and how-to's that are formed around explaining what to do when approaching the research process before or during making design decisions. However, the thought training that is needed in order to execute these sort of processes is not always just picked up in the work force, nor is it directly taught alongside learning the fundamentals of graphic design while in school. The importance of being able to configure how exactly your audience is going to use a final design, and what benefits the look or content can do on it's own are critical when approaching the design world. Davis makes a strong and interesting point when she explains the difference between research "focuse[d] on the subject matter of their design" compared to "the characteristics of users or context." This hit home not because of the way my professors have guided my learning in design school, but because of the way I have thought of design research as a tool to look at the background of my subject instead of the use of the product at hand. Whether it be the instinct my fellow classmates and I have about education or not, this research distinction between background and use is something that should be clarified in order to move forward with more strategic and beneficial designs. The final outcome of graphic look will continue to be irrelevant unless the user and purpose is taken into consideration and helps to fully shape the way the project is formed. The easiest way I could picture this difference is as it relates to a Homelessness project my classmates and I worked on last quarter in our information design class. We spent weeks gathering background information, statistics, interviews, etc. but our final output was always going to be the same: two posters, and a motion graphic video. Could some other end product been more successful? The research testing for what the outcome would be could have taken just as long if not longer than the background research. But the end product or design as far as how helpful it could be in making a difference in the community, could have been worth that extra testing. Davis, Meredith. "Building a Culture of Design Research." SEGD (2012). SEGD. SEGD Academic Summit. Web. 1 Jan. 2015. <https://segd.org/building-culture-design-research-0>.