Jay Doblin: A Short Grandiose Theory of Design

I totally recommend this read! A Short, Grandiose Theory Of Design by Jay Doblin.

It starts by breaking down design into the definitions: design as a process, design as a state, then design to solve complex problems. The simple diagram eventually develops into…
Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 12.10.30

…a complex diagram.
Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 12.10.01

This was written in 1987. It’s talking about design applied to systems.
Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 12.10.13
This excites me – I would love to know more about the history and evolution of systems/service design. I like the distinction between unisystems and multisystems.

At UKTI we are certainly looking at multisystems – a vastly complex picture of not only the many services UKTI offer, but what services the whole of Britain offers exporters, and also what’s going on for exporters the world over. Such a complex picture, that the analysis part of the design process became even more important because the picture is not obvious – it’s too big to see by any one person.

I’m loving the word ‘impresario‘. The article says that impresarios with holistic approaches are the ones that design the appearance of unisystems – starting with a vision of what the user experience should be, the details of the design are painstakingly worked out. I can identify with that.

I’m not sure if I agree with Doblin that designers can usually only do one kind of design. What I’m seeing is that most service designers are coming from what Doblin would call ‘product appearance design’. Learning how to basically design something is the foundation for designing systems.

All images from A Short, Grandiose Theory Of Design.

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