118 Theories of Design(ing)

Paul A. Rodgers (Editor), Craig Bremner (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Foucault has an interesting notion about the writing of books. He says “I don’t write a book so that it will be the final word; I write a book so that other books are possible, not necessarily written by me.” (O’Farrell, 2005: 9). Paraphrasing Foucault, we might be tempted to claim that the aim of this book is to once again make possible the future scenarios so essential for the existence of design(ing). But we have also written this book to make clear we are not concerned with the future nor the scenario, but the possibility of the possible – that design is possible. This book isn’t entirely written by us. We have assembled it to also make possible an obsolete meaning of theory; to illustrate a mental view of design(ing); to expand the ‘mental space’ or more fashionably to spread the ‘imaginary’ of design(ing).
Every practical act is deeply informed by a whole set of theories and perspectives. So, the question is not whether we are practical or theoretical, but rather whether we are implementing practice in full awareness of the theoretical frameworks — the worldview and value systems — that inform our practice. Taking a design-based approach can help us to make our practice more theoretical and our theory more practical.
Design(ing) involves activities and processes that lie at the intersection of theory and practice. Design(ing) is where art and science meet. Design[ing] integrates and exploits information from many disciplines where we have separated human knowing and doing. Design(ing) is where we can acknowledge the influences of the past and give rise to visions of different futures.
The book provides a conceptual basis of the subject and area of study – design(ing) – and as such is a classic text on theory. Even more ‘classic’ is our approach, which is intended to challenge or provide an alternative to critical methods and interpretations that are established and traditional. But we have reversed the ‘classic’ origins of theory by taking the practical experience and activity of design(ing) and turned it into explanations of somewhat overlooked and undervalued essays, papers, book articles, words, terms, authors and phenomena that swirl around design(ing), most of which are commonplace and therefore now functions of the mercantile spectacular.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDelaware
Number of pages306
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2020


  • design
  • designing
  • theory
  • methods

Cite this