Posts by Hugh Dubberly

Oct 20, 2022

Why we should stop describing design as “problem solving”

This article appears in Geoff Kaplan’s book“After the Bauhaus, Before the Internet: A History of Graphic Design Pedagogy,”published this fall by MIT Press.The book grew out of a conference at Yale in 2019.A presentation on the same topic was delivered at the conference.

Dec 2, 2021

Gui Bonsiepe: Framing Design as Interface

This article appears in Lara Penin’s book“The Disobedience of Design: Gui Bonsiepe,” a collection of essays about and by Bonsiepe, published by Bloomsbury, as part of its series: Radical Thinkers in Design, edited by Clive Dilnot.

Jan 25, 2019

The relevance of cybernetics to design and AI systems

Knowledge of cybernetics is increasingly relevant to both what and how designers design. Cybernetics is the science of feedback, information that travels from a system through its environment and back to the system. A feedback system is said to have a goal, such as maintaining the level of a variable (e.g., water volume, temperature, direction, […]

Jan 24, 2019

Making sense in the data economy

We perpetually interact with our technologies. On the one hand they serve us, and on the other hand they control us.1 Computers, smartphones, and the infrastructure surrounding them now mediate much of our communications, affecting not only whom we can reach and who can reach us but also what we can say and what we […]

Jan 1, 2019

Cybernetics and Design: Conversations for Action

Design Cybernetics: Navigating the NewThomas Fisher and Christiane M. Herr, Editors, Springer This is an update (with changes) to an earlier version. Abstract Ranulph Glanville came to believe that cybernetics and design are two sides of the same coin. The authors present their understanding of Glanville and the relationships they see between cybernetics and design. They […]

Apr 7, 2018

Designing Within Systems

The following is the introduction to Jorge Arango’s 2018 book Living in Information: Responsible Design for Digital Places Designing has roots in craft — in making “things,” in giving them form. And at one level, designing is concerned with “how things look,” their shape, color, and material. Yet, while “good form” is important, form is not […]

Jan 19, 2018

Connecting things: Broadening design to include systems, platforms, and product-service ecologies

  Traditionally, design practice and design education have focused on giving form to physical things—apparel, buildings, messages, tools, and vehicles—the artifacts that constitute material culture. These artifacts are also the material of the traditional design disciplines—apparel design, architecture, graphic design, product design, and transportation design.

Jun 20, 2016

Distinguishing between control and collaboration—and communication and conversation

In their paper “from Autonomous Systems to Sociotechnical Systems: Designing Effective Collaborations,” Kyle J. Behymer and John M. Flach remind us “the goal of design is a seamless integration of human and technological capabilities into a well-functioning socialtechnical system.”1 Recent trends—the sensor revolution, big data, machine learning, and intelligent agents, for example—make their reminder timely.

Feb 4, 2016

Bruce Archer’s Design Process Checklist

The image above is only a small slice (2 of 15 pages) of the overall model. This is a re-drawing of Bruce Archer’s 229-step design process; which is difficult to come by. It also brings together Archer’s descriptive text with the diagram for the first time.

Nov 1, 2015

Cybernetics and Design: Conversations for Action

Working for decades as both theorist and teacher, Ranulph Glanville came to believe that cybernetics and design are two sides of the same coin. Working as both practitioners and teachers, the authors present their understanding of Glanville and the relationships between cybernetics and design. We believe cybernetics offers a foundation for 21st-century design practice. We […]