Most of us have a tendency to generate (design) ideas and then think how to realize them. Sounds familiar? Of course…how else are we supposed to make something without using our creative imagination? But, ideas are often cloudy, blurred and maybe even impossible to accomplish. Conceptual thinking insists that “idea is product”, disregarding demand for realization. This kind of thinking is adequate for performing & conceptual arts, but as soon as we stress the product, we enter into a territory of design. Design is applied idea, or better to say, applied art.
Separations are artificial and they only fabricate additional misunderstandings. Art and design are not separate contingencies, but interwoven disciplines, which share same origins, but have different outcomes. In the most simplified way, division between art and design is understood as division between inner (art) and outer (design). In other words, if we worship ideas, we will glorify art and if we contemplate outcomes (quality, usability and problem solving), we will appreciate design.
To get back to the point, I would like to claim that design cannot start with ideation.
Ideation is a reverse process, which starts form the end, i.e. by visualizing the product/outcome.
Design follows experience. To make design means to start form empirical knowledge, studying ingredients and relations among all involved elements.This means that design drives it’s force form epistemological understanding and cognitive practice.
Once we establish critical understanding, we may start design process. Process should be nourished from interactions with environment, employing cross cultural and comparative studies to examine relationships to materials and their use. If we follow this proposition, we would be able to see design “appearing” in front of our eyes, instead being imposed by conceptual, stylistic, aesthetic and similar conventions.
To conclude: in order to produce responsive and thoughtful design, it is mandatory to recognize cultural & historic resources, get familiar with materials and their capacity to adaptation and modification and then proceed with prototyping, testing and adapting to fulfill proposition.
In other words, design should grow like a plant , starting as a seed, nourished by environment and carefully trimmed to fit requirements. Remember: seed is not the idea of the plant, but the real plant.