The Design Way: Intentional Change in an Unpredictable World


Humans did not discover fire–they designed it. Design is not defined by software programs, blueprints, or font choice. When we create new things–technologies, organizations, processes, systems, environments, ways of thinking–we engage in design. With this expansive view of design as their premise, in The Design Way Harold Nelson and Erik Stolterman make the case for design as its own culture of inquiry and action. They offer not a recipe for design practice or theorizing but a formulation of design culture’s fundamental core of ideas. These ideas–which form “the design way”–are applicable to an infinite variety of design domains, from such traditional fields as architecture and graphic design to such nontraditional design areas as organizational, educational, interaction, and healthcare design.

The text of this second edition is accompanied by new detailed images, “schemas” that visualize, conceptualize, and structure the authors’ understanding of design inquiry. The text itself has been revised and expanded throughout, in part in response to reader feedback.

Paperback | The MIT Press | 2nd Edition, 2014 | 296 Pages | 6 x 9

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