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Architecture, Design

What is Design?

We generally put this question to fresh Architecture students. I discover lot of original views and understanding of the term “design”. I wonder, how strong are the visuals around us, that most of us fail to mention “sounds around us”, when defining “design”.

The answers that I got from recent first year students included following terms:

  • Pleasing appearance
  • representation
  • geometrical arrangements
  • different forms and shapes
  • creative arrangement
  • drawings and ideas
  • putting ideas on paper
  • purpose
  • colours
  • patterns
  • style
  • something apt to the situation.
We, faculty land up into a difficult situation, where we are confused of whether we shall explain them what design is (how many of us have understood the term?) or students will discover various truths on their own. By the end of final year, students have been fully confused with the term “design”. Everyone has “learnt” to put opinions.

Now the big question how do we, faculty tackle this?
Try and discover the presence of “design” around you. Pen down your thoughts on “the presence of design”, for example ask yourself a question “in what form design is present in the object (e.g. car)?”

Students would come up with simple answers like, colour, form, comfort, storage, interiors..etc.
OK, now they have understood , the visual presence of design atleast. Go further and ask “in what better way, this could have been done?” and be ready to welcome “amazing and original ideas on improvement”.

Now shoot a simple exercise where students are asked to create (design) something (of smaller scale) for themselves, e.g, sketch book. Ask them to first pen down ideas about the dream sketchbook that they will like to have for future years as students and give them sufficient time to design it and present it to class!

By now, they have started designing something consciously! next step would be to get into details of design theory.


About Rajesh Advani

I am an architect and founder of ArchitectureLive! - www.architecturelive.in, the architecture and design portal from India. I craft websites and do graphic design for living. In addition addicted to photography, traveling and networking with people. Currently I am doing a research on Walkability in Kalkaji, a neighbourhood in New Delhi, India.


2 thoughts on “What is Design?

  1. the sketchbook exercise that u explained is fantastic coz that way u can also demonstrate that “they are putting function that they want from the sketchbook” that is how design evolves. the need of function and the access to the function. I am not the one who have learn’t more but i always use to think that why are we doing this? cheers saar

    Posted by Ravi Kotak | August 19, 2007, 1:58 am
  2. मेरे ब्लॉग पर आकर आपने अपनी राय व्यक्त की उसके लिए मैं आपका आभारी हूं।
    आपकी बात से मै सहमत हूं कि नक्सलवाद के लिए मूलत: हमारी सरकारें और हमारी प्रशासनिक व्यस्था ही ज़िम्मेदार है। लेकिन शायद इसका हल ढूंढ पाना अब अकेले सरकार के बस में नहीं।

    आपके ब्लॉग पर आकर अब डिज़ाईन की मूलभूत व्याख्याएं समझने मे आसानी होगी। शुक्रिया।

    क्या यह जानकारी दे पाएंगे कि आप मेरे ब्लॉग़ तक कैसे पहुंचे थे?

    Posted by Sanjeet Tripathi | August 23, 2007, 3:18 pm

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