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1. Design Culture


Read chapter 1 of The Culture of Design 'Design Culture'

In this chapter there are two key points.


The first one is that Design Culture as a field of study pays attention to the way that design objects, images and spaces are multiply reproduced. To put this the other way around, we should be careful not to think of them as singularities like we often do about works of art. The chapter argues that Visual Culture and Material Culture studies often analyse objects as singularities. Design Culture requires, in a sense, its students to be more immersed, to place themself among design objects rather than view them in a separate domain from themself.


The second key point that is made is that we can think of a design culture as being made up of the interactions between the work of designers, production and consumption. So we might use a variety of academic disciplines to try and understand each of these domains, but ultimately the most important thing here is to look at how they influence each other. At the same time, objects, spaces and images are produced by these working together, but, in turn, they have agency on each of these domains -- objects influence designers, production and consumption.


Here is are two exercises that address each of these points in turn.



1. Multiple reproduction in design culture


Choose a product. This can be of any scale, from a pencil to a car. See how many times you can find it both as a serially reproduced object and as a representation or even as a reference. This means that you record every time you encounter it in your everyday life, but you may also go looking for it. It might appear on a website, in a TV or print ad or referred to in a product review. If you get stuck, choose another one and repeat the process. You might begin to represent this process in some kind of visual map.


Analyse about the transformations that go on between its different manifestations. How is it presented differently and how does this influence your encounter with it?




2. Domains of designer, production and consumption


Choose a object, space or image. Using the diagram of 'Domains of Design Culture', record how you would set about researching each of these domains in relation to that object. Beyond the basic sub-headings in each domain (e.g. the designer's historical influences, marketing issues in production or taste in consumption), detail how you would set about researching these. Find out what academic disciplines deal with these and even if there are key texts that you might use. Present this using the diagram as the core of it but annotate around the edges of it with your findings.


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