Friday, February 03, 2012

Book note: "Universal methods of design"

I just got a copy of the book "Universal Methods of Design" by Bella Martin and Bruce Hanington. It is a book that presents a collection of 100 design methods. Each method is presented in brief and clear way on two pages with great images and graphics. Each methods is categorized in a straightforward and simple way for when during the design process it might fit and for what aspect of design. The explanations of each method are short, to the point and instructive. I find this to be an excellent handbook of design methods. The authors takes a great position in relation to methods. They write

"Consider these 100 methods and techniques just as means to get to a better design, rather than ends in and of themselves. Review them, try them, prioritize them, and sequence them based on the success criteria and focus of problems you want to solve. Treat them as conversations. We have." (page 7)

This is an excellent approach. Methods are only means to an end, they are to be used intentionally.  Measure of success are to be constructed by the user of the method. It forces each method user to take responsibility for the choice of methods. It is all good. Recommended!

1 comment:

Gim, Hyewon said...

Dear Erik
Thank you for introducing this book. In my opinion, sometime,or maybe often, it is very hard to develop both comprehensive and flexible design methods that most people can apply the methods in their individual design thinking. To develop the kind of methods is my fundamental question. But I have realized that design methods are phenomenological as well. For example, designers tend to mix some methods with another one because of their epistemological perspectives of an ill-defined problem. So, I am not sure what I have to study yet. Philosophical theories always bother me, and even design situations are always complex though. Make me feel confused all the time. I need a magic book that helps me solve these difficult problems.

By the way, I am glad to see the readings on your desk. Your book lists are always interesting to me. I am enjoying to peek your books. Coincidentally, I am also reading one of Manuel DeLanda's books these days, which is a thousand years of nonlinear history. I think he is a great thinker.

Thank you.