Territory and Design, Take Two

December 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

My feedback for my 200 words about my territory was that I’d missed the point. I thought ‘territory’ was what the project was about.

‘Be stricter about what each paragraph is about. The meaning is lost becasue you jump between contextual and project information. Don’t talk about what your project is about. What is your TERRITORY… the second section begins well, but does not explain why designers would or should be engaged in any of this. What do designers know/do that gives them any insight or skill whatsoever to tackle these issues?’

Here’s my second go:

Positive psychology is a relatively new field of science where ‘subjective well being’ is studied. Subjective well being is the measure of life satisfaction – it looks at the big picture for an individual rather than momentary feelings. Through studies over the last 40 years, some clear factors have emerged as having effects on subjective well being. Individuals can choose to apply the knowledge of these factors to their own lives. Is it possible to help more people find ways of doing this?

Nope, that’s still ‘what my project is about’ I think.

I am fascinated by positive psychology. Scientists have found patterns in what makes humans happy with their lives. We can use this information to improve our society, but we haven’t done it yet. We’re in a bit of state at the moment what with the riots and protests – we could use some improvement to our subjective well being. It’s the right time to try applying positive psychology to our lives.

If psychologists can try to improve well being, so can designers. Approaching these problems from a design perspective, where creative divergent thinking is employed, will fill the gap left by economists, politicians, psychologists and strategists. As a designer, I can take the scientific findings and indexes, and develop practical applications. Through design, I can work across the boundaries of disciplines, bring it all together and propose creative solutions.

(On top of this, because I am a ‘designer’, I feel massive guilt at all the bygone designers who have designed and produced incredible amounts of material goods and played a part in damaging Earth. Calling myself a designer makes me feel like I have some sort of responsibility to tackle their destruction; to move away from this kind of design, we need to forge new roles for designers that doesn’t involve mass production. Design schools are still churning out students that will design chairs for boardrooms. We need to find something else for them to do. They’ve been trained to think about human needs and solve problems as well as communicate visually – these three skills will be useful in designing non-material things too. Designing for well being is a worthy cause – more worthy than to make money. Money was meant to make us happy. Let’s cut to the chase and design for well being.)


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