How Designers Think: The Design Process Demystified by Bryan Lawson pdf

How Designers Think: The Design Process Demystified by Bryan Lawson pdf download.

This book now has far too long a history for my liking. It is frightening to think that it was first published now nearly a quarter of a century ago. It has been in continuous print ever since and many people have been kind enough to say how it has helped them with their studies, research or just developing their design process. Needless to say there are many others who have been rather more critical of some of the ideas and most of their arguments have been taken into account as the book has progressed through previous editions to this fourth one.

The book was not originally intended to be prescriptive and that continues to be the case. It is an attempt to draw together much of what I know about designing. That understanding has, of course, come from many years’ research. But this understanding also comes from teaching designers from a wide range of backgrounds. I have taught students of architecture, interior design, product and industrial design, urban design and town planning, landscape, graphics as well as those who develop virtual worlds such as web- sites and animated films. I have also taught in the areas of ergonomics, systems design and computer programming. These students have repeatedly amused, surprised and entertained me. They have always taught me new things and occasionally astonished me. That they do not realise some things are thought to be difficult is often the charm and advantage of such novice students and every now and then they show that it is possible to make the complex simple and to resolve the intractable. This is why design is such a drug, so fascinating and yet of course so frequently frustrating and infuriating. I have been privileged to meet many wonderful designers, some of them very well known and others less so. We have discussed the ideas in this book. Often highly successful designers warn me at the start of these discussions that they can more easily describe their designs than their processes. Actually, it usually turns out that they can say a great deal more about their processes than they had previously realised they could. It may seem odd to some readers that I say relatively little about the fin- ished work of some of these successful designers. The fact is that much more has been written about their designs than their processes so I make no apology for saying very little about product here and concentrating on process. If I were to start writing this book from scratch now I would prob- ably do it differently. Since I first published this book I have written two others on related matters, Design in Mind and What Designers Know. The latter is actually a companion book to this one. I have revised this fourth edition in the light of more recent research but also in the knowledge that What Designers Know is now also pub- lished. Effectively both books taken together represent my latest thinking. This fourth edition has two totally new chapters at the end. The chapters in the third edition on designing with drawings and designing with computers have been removed. Both of those essentially looked at the way design knowledge is transferred between the human mind and some external representation. The main ideas that grow out of that study can now be found in a much more developed form in What Designers Know.

The first new chapter here discusses the idea of design as conversation. Not only has this view of design grown in popularity over the time this book has been in print, but it now offers a way of thinking about many of the important issues concerning the ways the designers work in teams, with drawings and with computers. The second new chapter rather rashly tries to summarise the range of activities that I believe make up the design process. It also incorporates and summarises some of the lessons only recently available to us about how really expert designers work and how this might be different from the way novice designers work. There are therefore now three points of summary in the book. The model of design problems which is developed in Chapter 6, the intermediate conclusions of Chapter 7 and the final summary of design activities in Chapter 16. I very much doubt that this is the end of the story. I am sure that many people will tell me that it is not and that we shall continue to have the same interesting and fascinating debates that I have been lucky to be part of for so many years. I have researched the design process for over four decades now and met with most of those who contribute significantly and repeatedly to the field and I have greatly benefited from discussion with all the people involved. The Design Thinking Research Symposia and the Creativity and Cognition Conferences have offered particular inspirations. I have supervised many research students and benefited from collaborating with them. I am greatly indebted to all those who have helped me to form these fumbling ideas as we grope towards an understanding of that most magical of all human cognitive endeavours, designing. Bryan Lawson



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