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Process, Problem and Theory in the Design Discourse

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Process, Problem and Theory in the Design Discourse of Brazilian Product Designers



Julio Carlos de Souza VAN DER LINDEN and Gabriela DALL’AGNOL


We present an analysis of the design discourse of Brazilian product designers
aiming to contribute to the question: 'how do designers work?'. Our start
point is the gap between academic design methods and methods used in
practice. We interviewed eighteen product designers in Rio Grande do Sul
(Brazil) using an in-depth interview protocol that comprising different
aspects: professional life, influences, theoretical approach, barriers and
difficulties, perceived challenges, vision of design, and design process. Those
designers work in different contexts (design studio, external designer,
freelancer designer, internal designer, own store), have different levels of
expertise (experienced, intermediate, novice) and have different academic
background (Architecture, Arts, Product Design).


Results we present refer to: Design Process (how they describe and model
their design process), Problem Definition (how they frame the design
problem) and Design Theory (which theory supports their practices). We
found different approaches for design processes and problem definition, and
we observe that none of them adopts an explicit theoretical approach. We
believe that the wide field of idiosyncrasies among professional designers is a
consequence of the lack of a consistent and shared theoretical background
among Brazilian design schools. Certainly it affects how Brazilian society and
companies perceive Design as a profession.


PUBLISHED: Proceedings from the The 19th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference, 2014


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