SPECIFYING DESIGN FUTURES LITERACIES
SPECIFYING DESIGN FUTURES LITERACIES
This unit aims to:
- introduce what definitions are and do
- place definitions in relation to futures design and inquiry
- tease out definitions on Design Futures Literacies
- reflect on definitions and relations between words
Human language is filled with meanings and these are connected to the purposes, persons, cultures and contexts within which we communicate. Definitions are central to our communication in daily life and to how we operate as designers. We carry with us and use definitions we have learned in a variety of settings and needs. We define words all the time, through the other words they are joined together with in our speaking and writing.
We use definitions of words in contexts, in use and through interaction. We define what we mean by words in relation to other ones and to other people, ideas and actions. In this sense language is a living, breathing and changing creature that we inhabit and develop. This applies also to our design educational professional interests and activities.
2. ON ‘DESIGN LANGUAGE’
Meaning comes from words in use and from different views connected to purpose. The definitions we arrive at may differ. Think of whether they are ones you know come from friends, school and family or if they arise through your specific interests and membership in a group or an activity. Design education is one domain in which we circulate given meanings and definitions of words and explore the generation of new ones. All these words come to mean something because of how they are taken up and the contexts in which they appear and are applied.
In study and researching design, we engage in learning processes that also introduce us to specialist terms in the different domains of design, such as interaction of product design. Definitions form a key part of how we use language to create a sense of a shared community of expertise and how we work. We work with and to definitions and meanings drawn from design professionals and practice.
We also employ terms and concepts in research that are defined through detailed processes of clarification. In practice based inquiry, we shape new design specialist language through experimentation, cases and field studies.
New words and concepts may enter into our design language form practice or by being generated anew, or coined. These new items need to be defined. Their definitions may take time to be refined so that it is accepted or incorporated, and applied with a shared sense of meaning. All of these elements of using language to define meaning contribute to a wider ‘design language’.
3. DEFINITIONS, DESIGN AND FUTURES
We use definitions in design all the time. They are drawn from professional practice, from general use but also from specialist vocabularies. At times we absorb these terms and use them in our studies and work. They are part of how we learn to become professionals who can talk and write about our designs and their making, application, use and implications but we also need to look at what they do and how they influence our thoughts, design and understanding.
4. UNDERSTANDING RELATIONS BETWEEN WORDS
This section asks you to look further into the definitions and relations between the three central words: design, futures and literacies. It’s important that you understand these as connected words, where meanings arise through how we place emphasis on the different ways they can be read as a term as a whole. We approach this by introducing what we call the MATRIX OF DESIGN FUTURES LITERACIES.
5. REFRESHING DEFINITIONS
When working with language and DESIGN FUTURES LITERACIES and FUTURES DESIGN we need to be aware of how the language we are accessing and adopting, applying and circulating is influencing our own thinking and work as well as the wider discourse or communicative arenas and expression they populate and promote. All of the Units the LEXICON and its ESSENTIALS need to be seeing the wider context of the frameworks, world views and philosophies they use and to which they contribute. This is supported by the PHILOSOPHICAL PILLS. This section therefore engages you in an additional round of critical reflection and rewriting.
Download this UNIT in printable format:
Morrison, Andrew. 2019a. “Design Futures Literacies.” Keynote at the 2019 International DEFSA Conference, Design Education Forum of Southern Africa, Cape Town, VEGA Campus, 9-11 September 2019.
Morrison Andrew. 2019b. “Anticipation and design.” Invited lecture, Imagining Collaborative Future-Making, Malmö University, Malmö, 12-13 November 2019.
Sheridan, Mary, and Jennifer Rowsell. 2010. Design Literacies. London: Routledge.
Ward, Matt. 2019. “Critical about critical and speculative design.” SpeculativeEdu. https://speculativeedu.eu/critical-about-critical-and-speculative-design/
CONTRIBUTE TO THIS UNIT!
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