Design is not a new term in the world. Many people hear about it or work in design industry. Nevertheless some people still do not understand and they are dreading design. They thought design is merely a simple design process. That is because that they have not tried to understand and learnt how to design. In fact, design is the main platform for people to show their creative and personality. Every person has his or her own way to design. In design industry, there are different ways and no simple correct way to design. Every design method is real and absolute. Design is not a hard term to understand, but the quality of design depends on the designer’s understanding and knowledge of things. Understanding design is the first step to become a good and professional designer. There are many ways for different designers to understand what design is. One of the most important process is exploration.
What is exploration?
Exploration is an activity for the purpose of discovery. (http://timetoeatthedogs.com/2008/06/09/what-is-exploration/) Human lived in the world for about 250,000 years. In the past, human did not know too much about the world. They always explore before discovering something new. For example: Captain James Cook. He sailed bravely with his ship and saw what the world looks like. Throughout his life, he did three major exploration trips. Finally, he discovered Australia, New Zealand and many beautiful islands. He discovered that the world is not only Europe, Asia, America and Africa, but also Oceania.
What is design by exploration?
According to Ulrich Karl (Ulrich, Karl T. 2006. Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society) said that “A representation is a language for describing designs using symbols…..Representation requires abstraction….Representation and abstraction are important for exploration in nonphysical domains as well.” Exploration is not only for human to do a trip to explore something, but also can be written down in a paper. When people explain that design to someone, they always write their design on paper and add some description for people to understand the design. Some people use symbols to describe their design as well. But sometimes, representation is very abstraction. This is very important of something is not physical. When people describe something that is physical, they will draw some symbols and they always look very abstraction.
Why exploration is important?
According to Ulrich Karl, “Design requires exploration and so the process of design must include evaluation of the quality of the alternatives considered; otherwise the selection of a design would be arbitrary”. Design is not you want to do, then do it. It needs people to have high logical thinking, exploration and evaluation of alternative. Human’s behavior, process have the most suitable external factor to the design, this kind of external factor has decided the design production and the evolution. The target of design can be “things” such as: product, games, food, transport system etc; also can be “work” such as: entertaintment, working, learning, etc. Design can upgrade human’s life. So that people design many products to help them to get a comfortable life. For example: product design, it is one of the important industry in design. It is about how to improve human’s life and how to make people’s life become unique. So that is for “things” and “work” together. For multimedia design, design exploration is to design for people, not only business. Designer design a web site, a firm, graphic, game is basic on human’s life behavior and decided the design production and the evolution. Creating a game is to give people more entertainment. Designing a building for people to live more comfortably. Design without exploration cannot be helpful to cater for people’s needs. This is the Evolution of Design. In here, Evolution of Design means object description moves from noun to verb (http://expressivitytheory.com/Exploration%20of%20Design.pdf). Just use the example this web site provided. The first designer explores how machines work. Then, they designed the machines to fit into work environment. This is what they explore the machines and improve the machines to become more powerful to improve human’s life. Finally, the design’s purpose is to find out and help how people work, how people use the machines. This is known as the exploration effect design.
I totally agree with both opinions. Exploration is the first step to design. Based my experience as work in printing company, when I worked for business, I will plan and think about what kind of business that the company is. This is called defining. For example: design a new logo for a company. Usually I will first to look at the company what business that the company does. This is important because in business design, the main concept and the meaning of product is the most important point that the company needs. What most customers first look at is not the company’s product but the brand, the logo or the main symbol of the company. This is the first impression of the company and the product. Hence, when designers design the logo for the company, it is important to know what kind of business that the company does such as: a restaurant will not use a glass to be their logo; there is no relationship between glasses and restaurant. Most restaurants are using food to be their logo. This can show what food the restaurant provides. For example: La Companie des Petits, it is a shop selling children clothes. Their logo is very colorful and their logo uses a funny font. This will create visual effects and attract customers to memorize their company. Beginning with the image of the company, the designer created a lovely basic logo for the company after evaluating different alternatives. Without exploration, design cannot be useful for the client.
Representation is one important part of exploration each as: sketch. Some people prefer to sketch their design first. Sketching is an easy way to start designing. Use the same example in above, people may use pen to sketch their design in the paper. This is a good way to develop their design. In design process, this is the first simple thing to do. Sketching can help people to visualize the design carefully. If the design is only kept on mind, people may find it difficult to communicate the idea to other people. Some people may find it difficult to design carefully if the idea is not written or sketched on a paper. There is no disadvantage for doing this, but some people think this is a hard way to do because their sketching skill is not very good. Nowadays, some people use computer to sketch their design and build their model. This can also be a sketch in the design process. Sketch and define are the first two steps for design. It can use in all the design industry such as: product design, multimedia design, building design etc. Some people like me sometimes will think other people’s sketch or drawings are too abstractive. Maybe this is because some people talking are very detail, so that other people may think their design is abstract. According to Ulrich Karl (Ulrich, Karl T. 2006. Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society) said that “With detail comes complexity, which increases the cognitive burden of design.” After those people explain their abstract design, other people will think about it. This will increase the design skill of them; they may explore other people’s design thinking.
Research is another important element of exploration. The purpose of research is to study how and what other people did with the same project. During the research, designer can learn more about the project and try to think about how to make their design unique. That means design requires exploration. They explore the main idea of the project. Research is an important part in the design process. This can affect and determine if the project is good or bad. Sometimes people copy other people’s design, this is bad. Some people learn about the advantages of other people’s design, they learn them and improve their own unique design. Besides, research is not only to study alternative designs. It is also a chance to review the history of design or a project to make sure their design will not follow the past people’s mistakes. This is another way to improve their design and to make sure their design is suitable for the market.
Many people think design is hard because they don’t know how to design and some people may just think design is untidily or put something together. In fact, design is one part of exploration. People design because they want to find a correct way to solve some problems or explore the world.
Firstly, design can help people to explore the world. Sometimes, people design because they want to know more about the world. Human live in the world, they will use design to help them to find out the world. For example: The reason of dinosaur’s extinction. People now still do not know why dinosaurs disappeared from the world. Therefore scientists create models and theories to help them to find that why dinosaur suddenly die. People will try to think some reasons for them to follow and find the way to help them to understand different situations. This is all being to design. Design is a huge term. People design things not only for entertaining or business purpose but also can be an important thing to explore the world. Design make human know more about their living place and help them to protect environment.
Secondly, design can explore one person’s personality or thinking. People’s thinking is a hard term to understand. In fact, human may not know why some people will think in a different way. Besides, people may not understand some human behavior. For example: Audience watch one person’s design. If that person’s design is untidy, audience may think that person is a dirty person or they may think that person thinking is very complicate. So that audience can explore that person. This can help people to analyze people behavior and may help these people to solve their problem in their life or can explain why some people will behave crazily and stupidly.
Thirdly, design can help us to solve problems. Human live in the world, there are so many problems such as: eat, relationship, live etc. For example: New technology. In the past, people used some tools are made by stone and use hand to control it, but nowadays people use tools that are created by plastics and use electronic equipment to work and communicate. Sometimes design can help to fulfill dreams such as: in the past, many people want to have a robot to help them to do the housework. Nowadays, this is not a dream, there are people designing and creating many robots to help them to do the housework. Anything in the world, people need to design first, so that they can create in the future.
This three is my opinions of what is design by exploration. The main idea is people design something through exploration. Exploration is one of the major step that people can discover new things. On the other hand, exploration is important. Without exploration, design cannot be done and can not be present the meaning or some physical effect to other people.
In conclusion, exploration is the process of discovery. Design in exploration is to find a correct way to solve some problems or explore the world such as: know more about the world, explore one person’s personality or thinking and solve problems. People always design some new things to know more about the world. As human live in the world, but there are many things that human do not know about. When people go to watch a people’s design, they can feel that designer’s thinking. Something can explain why some people will do some abnormal behavior. Some people design something to solve some problem that happened in the past. Representation and abstraction is both important for exploration. Some people may first define the company and then start to design. This can prevent them from designing something that is not suitable for the company and make people feel confuse about their company. Sketch on paper or computer for their first design and then develop it. This is an easy step to develop the design and make sure the design is careful, also can make other people know about the design. Abstraction can improve people’s design skill. This is a good way for other designers who have to follow up or do similar projects. Research is also important in design. When other designers are doing a project, they need to have some other design for reference. This, not only for reference, is more related to see what is good and what is bad, and make sure they will follow the good thing and not follow the bad thing. This is the exploration as well. Design and exploration can make people’s life better. Nowadays, design is not a new term in the world. People must do more design to improve human’s life. And use design to explore the world, explore anything. People design more creative and unique things to explore human’s behavior. If designer keep designing many unique things, one day human can explore human’s thinking and the world may become more peaceful.
Viewed 20 April 2008, http://timetoeatthedogs.com/2008/06/09/what-is-exploration/
This is the view adopted by William Goetzmann in his path-breaking book Exploration and Empire (1966).
Ulrich Karl T. 2006. Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society