authenticity in design processes and relationships

Posted on by tyler

i'm headed to raleigh, north carolina today to attend and do a workshop at ncsu's biennial graduate symposium. this year's title is "design, community and the rhetoric of authenticity". elliott earls, brenda laurel, jon sueda are all speaking, so it should be stimulating. my workshop is during a series of one-hour sessions, so hopefully a few people will choose to come to mine. below is the abstract for what i'm doing.

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design relationships and processes for agency
this workshop begins from the premise that design processes and working relationships are two key factors contributing to the authenticity of design activity and artifacts. through small group brainstorming, discussion, diagramming and process-mapping, this workshop will examine the following:

A) a range of possible relationships between those involved in the design process, primarily designer, client, and audience. relational factors such as social proximity, hierarchy and others will be evaluated.

B) strategies for inclusive design processes throughout all stages of a project. various process models/strategies for research, organization, form-making, and other process phases will be developed, visualized, and discussed.

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i have discovered several things over the past semester, months, year(s) that led to the premise. a recurring theme in the work i was making, seeing others make, and mentoring through teaching was that the closer a designer works with the client and audience, the more authentic, interesting, and engaging the end result is. another thing i've noticed, which is nothing new by any means, is how engaging and empowering it is to involve people in the actual creative process. this ranges from customizing your vans online to the crowdsourcing of those evil "design me a logo for ten bucks" websites (a misuse of crowdsourcing in my opinion), to meritocratic sites like threadless. there are lots of great ways to create new and unusual processes where people are empowered to contributed and be creative, and i hope through this workshop to begin uncovering some new ideas for how that can happen. we'll see what we can do in an hour...