OCAD University Open Research Repository

Design and Dialectic

Galante, Vincent (2018) Design and Dialectic. [MRP]

Item Type: MRP
Creators: Galante, Vincent

Designers occupy a critical role in the creation of artifacts, systems, and experiences, but often hold ambivalent positions toward status quo values within their work. Design, however, is not a value-neutral activity, and both designers and designs are often informed by values and norms with inherently negative personal and societal consequences. By maximizing characteristics such as ease, speed, and intuitiveness within their work designers may unwittingly contribute to the destruction of skill, unnecessary waste, lack of user choice, and other harmful outcomes.

While evidence suggests the benefit of embracing seemingly counterintuitive values such as challenge, slowness, and deliberateness in their work, these options often remain hidden to designers. It is clear that we require a means by which affirmative values can be identified, and a technique that aids in the exploration of alternatives.

In this research paper I describe historical conceptions of “good design” and how Critical Theory can contribute to the identification of status-quo values that inform the work of many designers. A case is made for envisioning the process of design through the lens of Hegelian dialectical argumentation and how this can be applied to, what, at first glance, may appear to be the paradoxical stances of affirmative and critical values.

Finally, I describe a design technique which aids designers in identifying affirmative values in their design context and in imagining how overlooked alternatives can contribute to greater social responsibility, increased user satisfaction, and more enriching user experiences.

Date: 12 April 2018
Uncontrolled Keywords: Design, Social Design, Critical Design, Dialectics, Critical Theory, Good Design, Design Frameworks, Design Fiction
Divisions: Graduate Studies > Strategic Foresight and Innovation
Date Deposited: 11 May 2018 14:04
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2021 22:30
URI: https://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/2300

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View