The Design Way
Second Edition, MIT Press (2012)
Harold G. Nelson and Erik Stolterman
Humans did not discover fire--they designed it. Design is not defined by software programs, blueprints, or font choice. When we create new things--technologies, organizations, processes, systems, environments, ways of thinking--we engage in design. With this expansive view of design as their premise, in The Design Way, Harold Nelson and Erik Stolterman make the case for design as its own culture of inquiry and action. They offer not a recipe for design practice or theorizing but a formulation of design culture’s fundamental core of ideas. These ideas--which form “the design way”--are applicable to an infinite variety of design domains, from such traditional fields as architecture and graphic design to such nontraditional design areas as organizational, educational, interaction and healthcare design.
Nelson and Stolterman present design culture in terms of foundations (first principles), fundamentals (core concepts), and metaphysics, and then discuss these issues from both learner’s and practitioner’s perspectives. The text of this second edition is accompanied by new detailed images, “schemas” that visualize, conceptualize, and structure the authors’ understanding of design inquiry. This text itself has been revised and expanded throughout, in part in response to reader feedback.
Harold G. Nelson was 2009–2010 Distinguished Professor of Design at Carnegie Mellon University and is currently Senior Instructor in the Graduate School of Business and Public Policy at the Naval Postgraduate School and President of Advanced Design Institute.
Erik Stolterman is Professor of Informatics and Dept. Chair in the School of Informatics and computing at Indiana University Bloomington.