Learning Design through Experience Saturday, June 9th, 2018

"Is that even a process?”

Gregory Climer, Assistant Professor, Parsons School of Design

A look at one designers process that doesn't fit the design process.

This paper explores my own process and asks the question “is it even a process?”. As an artist/designer, my practice is not what most people would call rigorous or thoughtful, but explores craft from instinct and hunches. The motivating question at the start of each project is “wouldn’t it be fun if…?” The outcomes are then reflected upon and meaning is found within them. The work begins as an exploration of craft and leaves space for other people to critique it and find meaning. Often times the meaning comes from outsiders critiquing the work and my observation of the commentary that evolves. This reliance on others (or the collective subconscious) for making sense and meaning is at odds with how design education teaches the design process and problem solving design methods advocate for designers to work.
Looking at my quilt work as a case study, I am interested in unpacking how the work evolved from an arbitrary and juvenile choice of images to use as I explored 8-bit imagery in quilting to an animated short made entirely from quilts.
By relying on community to make sense of your own work, does it render the meaning less valid? Is it the responsibility of the designer to understand the meaning of their own work? Or is designing an act of listening to others a fruitful method for translating hunches into practice and artefacts?