Topic Exploration

Meaningful Experience Design

Most designs today focus on creating tangible experiences: shopping for a product, navigating through a place, delivering information, etc. Design tells people both what is important and how to move through an experience. Good design seeks to improve (simplify, make sense of, enhance) that experience. Yet, how is design used to improve human experiences that are not tangible—empathy, emotion, connection, self-awareness, inspiration, etc.? 15 core meanings: accomplishment, beauty, creation, community, duty, enlightenment, freedom, harmony, justice, oneness, redemption, security, truth, validation, wonder.


The Subconscious Mind + Design

Most decisions are made through unconscious mental processing. The unconscious mind is actually faster than the conscious mind. Some potential directions include how designers make decisions when designing, or how society is influenced subconsciously by design. “We are faced with an overwhelming amount of data (11,000,000 pieces of data come into the brain every second!) and our conscious minds can’t process all of that. Our unconscious has evolved to process most of the data and to make decisions for us according to guidelines and rules of thumb that are in our best interest most of the time. This is the genesis of “trusting your gut”, and most of the time it works!” []

The Role of Intuition in the Creative Process

Where do great ideas come from? As [Einstein] told one friend, “When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come close to the conclusion that the gift of imagination has meant more to me than any talent for absorbing absolute knowledge.” Elaborating, he added, “All great achievements of science must start from intuitive knowledge. I believe in intuition and inspiration… At times I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason. []

Authenticity + Design

Skeuomorphism refers to a design principle in which design cues are taken from the physical world. Where is the line between people wanting things to be authentic, versus wanting designs to be aesthetically appealing? When is something too authentic? For example, when using Photoshop, when is an image too manipulated that individuals are bothered. On the flip-side, can a design/image be too raw?

The Subjective Domain of Design

How does personal experience shape the designers work? Feelings, memories, associations, etc. all play a role in the design process. Design is not a linear, rational process, but rather an iterative one that is influenced by the subjective experience of the designer.

The Beginner’s Mindset

What this means is that the Being, which is the manifestation of creativity or the creative product, i.e. a poem, building or piece of music, does not come from creators or designers, but rather through them. In this case, creators or designers allow themselves to experience reality directly. The vision of the artist is therefore to be anintermediary between the subject (the person) and the objective word (the world-waiting-to-be). And essential to this role is an attitude of receptivity. This is not to be confused with passivity. Rather thecreators / designers holding themselves alive and open to hearing and feeling as far as possible. It requiresa suspension of judgment, an openness and a willingness to be the vehicle for whatever vision or ideamay emerge. It is the opposite of what is referred to as willpower.” The Beginner’s Mindset: “Buddhist philosophers refer to it as Beginner’s Mind, a state of curiosity, alertness, awareness, and openness to possibility. According to Shunryu Suzuki (1982:13) “the mind of the beginner is empty, free of the habitsof the expert, ready to accept, to doubt, and open to all possibilities. It is the kind of mind which can seethings as they are,” It is an attitude of not-knowing, which is soft, flexible and fresh, and is accompanied by a sense of freedom conducive to mental and emotional exploration.”[]

How Prior Knowledge Affects Creative Solutions

Can prior knowledge hinder creative solutions, or is it always beneficial? When one perceives prematurely they know the solution, does it block innovation? “To be creative you must first have a body of knowledge (Feldhusen, 1995; Gallagher & Gallagher, 1994; Gardner, 1994; Piirto, 1994). Creativity involves the manipulation of ideas from a knowledge base. Without a body of knowledge there is nothing to manipulate. Without a  box there is not a box of which to step outside.” []

Design + Construction of Cultural Meaning

How does design both create and reflect culture? How is meaning created and understood through design? How does design influence personal perception of culture.

Design + Construction of Personal Identity

The relationship of design to the self. How does design both create and reflect the self? How is an identity created and understood through design?

Power of Intention in Design

How do a designer’s intentions affect the final work?

The State of Flow for Innovation

Design Consciousness

Feelings/Emotions + Design