Designer vs. Engineer...I need resources!

I am an industrial designer doing a master course in interactive design.

I am working on a reflection paper, and my reflection is about the struggle of a industrial designer (me) in a multidisciplinary teams (engineers, anthropology…).

I want to reflect on my role as a designer, how it understood or mis-understood, the clashes of minds the fluffiness of design vs the hard science of engineering.

The role of the designer is shifting, the lines are blurring, we are not just form designers, we have something more to offer, right?

But as a designer (aren’t designer’s like that:) I have difficulty with literature, finding the right references, something to read to open my mind about this subject.

Other sources than The Reflective Practitioner by D. Schön I have very little to build on, so I come to you for help.

If you could point me in any direction, or to sources that would be super.


:slight_smile: I am afraid so, that’s what they tell me

First who is “they” and why are you listening to them? If you think design is fluffy in anyway you have a lot of reading to do before you can write your paper. Search other threads there are tons of books listed that could help you. Also there is a handy books link at the top of the page you are looking at right now.

If you yourself still believe that design is fluffy, then you haven’t read enough of those ‘why design is important and valid’ books. There are tons of books out there to support your case. Here’s one: “The Design of Everyday Things” by Donald Norman, I think. I’m sure there are threads on core77 that will provide you with more comprehensive lists.

The look and shape of something directly affects how we interact with it on the cognitive level. How is this not revelant? Once those requirements are satisfied, designers extend that into the emotional - which is also relevant. It is not stupid, immature, or shallow to make decisions based on beauty (see the quote in my sig). A beautiful product (usually) indicates a better product, because only after complete mastery of the concept and the technical can a product be synthesized into a simple beautiful object. Apple would be the best example of this.

Hmmm… Don’t get wrong, I wish you well with your studies, but a struggle? Seriously? I mean if it were 1965 I might buy into that but where do you get that it is a struggle?

I don’t know the experience you have had with multidisciplanary teams, but I have never once had a struggle to afix value to industrial design. My experience is that it is a switch, either they get it (and you get hired for a project) or they don’t and they never called in the first place. Once a project has begun, I can’t imagine any real unprofessionalism like to describe.

ID may be a soft science but there is little doubt about its value. But if you need proof, just search Industrial Design on Amazon, you will get plenty of books to make the case.

First who is “they” and why are you listening to them? If you think design is fluffy in anyway you have a lot of reading to do before you can write your paper

That is the point, all the research material, papers, books I read, all agree to that industrial design is a ‘fluffy science’, this is not a bad thing though, just that it is hard to pin down inspiration, creative talent… unlike engineer who uses math or hard formulas to do his day to day job. This is undisputed and understood, if you read the literature.

I know very well the benefits of design, but to make an argument I need to understand the other side of the argument. and believe me that there are people out there that still is unconvinced about the ‘real’ benefit of design, especially during the initial stages, oh well any stages infact. I know these are ill informed people:), but I need to back that up.

don’t take it as an attack on industrial design, I want an understanding, most of the books recommended here in the books section, are glamour books and don’t go much into theory about design.
I have the books by Norman (emotion design, design of everyday things), and they are respectable books talking about the value of design, so thanks for reminding me.

Maybe I need to clarify, this course I am in now interactive design master course, is in a hardcore engineering department, where a lot of my teachers and fellow students are engineers, so I have struggled a little bit (when I mean struggle it’s not like a life or death or anything). The struggle is mainly that from my background in design I have valuable input into the design process, and that my background is respected… sometimes I feel I am not valued until it comes down to making the prototypes or posters:), where in the user research and analysis my work is undervalued. This is what I want to reflect on and get an understanding of, how different members of different background can interact and use each other talents on various stages.

Thanks for all your input…