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Design Books- What do you think is missing?

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  • Design Books- What do you think is missing?

    Hello designers- I am a graduate student who wants to work on a design book for part of my thesis this semester. This is a very personal project- a self-reflective look at my process, with the goal of improving my process with the use of critical and creative thinking tools.

    What I want to know from other designers is- From the many many design books that are on the market that you have come across, what do you feel is missing from them???? Please don't be afraid to communicate your private emotional thoughts about what drives you to want to become a better designer!

    Thank you.

  • #2
    Are you a graduate student with any field experience?
    Doesn't a master's thesis require an argument?
    This just sounds wrong somehow. Self-reflection of what process? Your design process?

    What's missing from most purely design books out there today is a balance of focus. You can't just focus on the creative process. To be a good designer means you have to be creative within the parameters of your clients' needs, their end goals, and their budgets. There's far too much emphasis on the creative thinking in books and articles, but not enough on the nuts and bolts of making it real. You can use all the critical and creative thinking tools you want but if you can't get it out of your head and into the client's hands in a reasonable and affordable way, all that thinking is wasted time.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
      Doesn't a master's thesis require an argument?
      This just sounds wrong somehow. Self-reflection of what process? Your design process?
      This sounds fairly typical of an MFA thesis. My thesis, for example, consisted of a year-long publication design project that resulted in a month-long exhibition of the work. There was a brief, more traditional written thesis, but it was secondary to the project, and mostly served as an explanation of the work.

      Back to Renessac's question... What I feel is missing from many design books is well-written content that actually says something beyond the basics. I like photographs of people's work as well as the next person, but I usually want to know more. For example, I want to know the parameters of the problem, what issues the designer ran into, how the solutions were arrived at, the frustrations involved, how they were overcome, an analysis of the working dynamics that made the project successful, the opinions of the designers involved, whether or not the design solution accomplished the objectives of the clients, the general working philosophies of the designers, etc.

      In other words, it's great to see a fantastic poster, a great logo or the results of a branding campaign, but I'd really like to go away with a good understanding of just how it came about. For me this would be as, if not more, useful than the photos of the actual finished pieces.

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      • #4
        What's missing from most design books? The details of designer reality. At least, the one most of us mortals work in.

        I'd love to see a design anthology that included accurate and honest answers to:

        - what was the agreed upon budget/schedule limits (broken down by stages would be great)?
        - what was the final costs, in time and money (again broken down by stages)?
        - how many people were involved and who actually did what (include vendor support)?
        - how well did the final solution actually WORK (and not just look great) and how was that assessed?
        - What were the most significant compromises and their sources?
        - what were the hardest sells?
        - how were any derivative pieces handled?

        And so on.
        Last edited by Bob; 01-18-2011, 11:28 AM.

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        • #5
          I guess the personal element like stated above is missing, you get a lot of theory but we want actual practical examples of the reason for your conclusion author!

          I love the book The Business side of Creativity He explains the why's in certain parts and to me that is like a math problem if you don't do the work how can you understand the answer.

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          • #6
            Thanks all for your replies and thoughts. In response:

            @PrintDriver- Yes, I work as a designer and own my own business. What I want to deliberately reflect on is my creative process. My program requires what is called a "synthesis" versus a traditional thesis.

            While you are all absolutely right that it is more than just the creative process, there is far more to it than that, client relations and business aspects and all, what I am focusing on here, for this project, is my own creative growth- the concept development part of the process specifically. Through deliberate reflection on my creative process I hope to learn from and improve it.

            @ <b>, I think you understand where I am coming from. That question of how the designer arrived at a solution, the deep thinking involved, is what I want to explore in my own mind and convey to readers.

            thank you all and more replies are very welcome!

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