Contemporary society depends on the achievements of design in many respects in everyday life. Designers do not now just focus on material designs, but devote their energy to complex tasks that affect the lives of many people as experts within interdisciplinary teams. Whether as design “thing-king” or in the field of social design, the career opportunities for designers increasingly demand extensive knowledge and an ability to reflect. A broad understanding of design, which views design as industrial styling more than classic design, takes this development into account and demands a stronger dovetailing of theory and practice in the training of designers. The theory and practice curriculum not only communicates academic design principles, but also approaches from related academic disciplines like sociology, ethnology and media theory, which have increasingly focused on material culture and its design in more recent times.
As a special form of protolinguistic communications, design plays a crucial role in almost any everyday situation beneath the surface when it comes to communicating meaning, confirming or undermining particular expectations or enabling particular actions. The initial drafts of designs are therefore also a response to the course of social interaction, where design suggests particular selections and opportunities and excludes others. Design affects our consciousness, the object and communications in this manner and, in the end, what is also possible in the social arena. Design emerges as a practice, a discipline and a special form of observation of the second order; its achievements are of crucial importance for the everyday lives of modern societies, as they contribute towards social synthesis and structural formation to a considerable degree.
Analytic skills and social theory principles are therefore centrally important for upcoming designers when it comes to not only understanding the perspective of users, but also the social, economic, political and ecological dimension of designs and asking critical questions about their own practice. The “theory and practice” curriculum communicates the relevant explanations in terms of the theory of design and cultural theory.
Sandra Groll, *1978, Dipl. Design, Studium Produktdesign an der Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe. Doktorandin (Dr. phil.) an der Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach. Lehrte Designtheorie, Designgeschichte und allgemeine more…