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Research for Designers

Research for Designers
A Guide to Methods and Practice

December 2015 | 280 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
"Today, designers design services, processes and organizations; craft skills no longer suffice. We need to discover, define and solve problems based upon evidence. We need to demonstrate the validity of our claims. We need a guide to design research that can educate students and be a reference for professionals. And here it is: a masterful book for 21st century designers."

Don NormanProfessor and Director of Design Lab, University of California San Diego, and former Vice President, Advanced Technologies, Apple

Design is everywhere: it influences how we live, what we wear, how we communicate, what we buy, and how we behave. In order for designers to design for the real world, defining strategies rather than just implementing them, they need to learn how to understand and solve complex, intricate, and often unexpected problems. This book is a guide to this new creative process. With this book in hand, students of design will:
  • understand and apply the vocabulary and strategies of research methods
  • learn how to adapt themselves to unfamiliar situations
  • develop techniques for collaborating with non-designers
  • find and use facts from diverse sources in order to prove or disprove their ideas
  • make informed decisions in a systematic and insightful way
  • use research tools to find new and unexpected design solutions
Research for Designers is an essential toolkit for a design education and a must-have for every design student who is getting ready to tackle their own research.

Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Design and Research
Chapter 3. Research Essentials
Chapter 4. Qualitative Research
Chapter 5. Quantitative Research
Chapter 6. Visual Research
Chapter 7. Applied Research
Chapter 8. Research and Design
Chapter 9: Conclusion

Today, designers design services, processes and organizations; craft skills no longer suffice. We need to discover, define and solve problems based upon evidence. We need to demonstrate the validity of our claims. We need Design Research, but as special kind of research, with methods appropriate to the applied, constructive nature of design. We need a book on research for designers that can educate students and be a reference for professionals. And here it is: Gjoko Muratovski's masterful book for 21st century designers.

Don Norman
Professor and Director: Design Lab, University of California San Diego. Former Vice President: Advanced Technologies, Apple. Author of 'Design of Everyday Things'

The nature of my work, as a practising Industrial Designer for many years has made it unavoidable for me to consider large questions—design is no longer a thought system for creating a product but has become a method of contemplating existence. Today, as designers, we are exploring a new vision; a vision that seeks to apply creativity to challenges of our age, namely digital technology and information. The designer of today is involved with designing experiences, not just looks and appearances. New ideas will be meaningful only if we can coordinate physical, sensual and cultural forces. Gjoko Muratovski offers a structure to free the spirit of designers’ way of experimentation. Research for Designers gives the reader a pair of wings to transcend limitation and do original work.

Suresh Sethi
Vice President: Global Consumer Design - South Asia, Whirlpool Corporation

‘Doing by design' will be advanced significantly by Gjoko Muratovski’s book Research for Designers. The book clearly explains how effective cross-disciplinary discovery and delivery of strategic solutions to complex problems needs to begin with targeted and credible research of the problem area, the ecosystem, the context, and the stakeholders involved. While the book provides a great overview for designers that are interested in learning about research methods and how to use them, the application of this book goes further. Research for Designers is also useful to strategists and decision-makers as it can expand their problem-solving toolkit to incorporate design research and practice in the pursuit of new, original and better outcomes. This is an excellent resource for both students and developing design practitioners.

Jane Treadwell
Practice Manager: Governance Systems, The World Bank Group. Advisory Panel Member: Clinton Foundation Climate Initiative. Former CEO: DesignGov, Australian Government

Inspiring and engaging. Muratovski gives us a visionary preview on the future of design. He argues that design is transforming from ‘problem-solving’ to ‘problem-finding’—something every company, from startups to multinationals, needs in today’s hyper-connected and fast-changing world. Muratovski provides the context and, more importantly, the implications of the rise of design as a powerful competitive advantage. If you want to know more about the role of design in the past, present and where design is headed, start here

David R. Butler
Vice President of Innovation & Entrepreneurship and former Vice President: Global Design, The Coca-Cola Company. Author of 'Design and Grow: How Coca-Cola Learned to Combine Scale and Agility'

Enlightened decisions. Breakthrough innovation. Insightful insights. Great outcomes begin with in-depth design research. Thankfully, Gjoko Muratovski has written the definitive compendium that not only covers ‘how’ to best conduct design research but ‘why’ it is such a vital ingredient to success. Although intended for design students, I believe Muratovski’s manual offers a far broader appeal. Strategists, business leaders, policy makers, anyone who wants to enhance and advance their research proficiency to achieve a better outcome should read this book. I know I’ll be sharing copies with my colleagues.

Maureen Thurston
Corporate Strategy Executive and Principal: Design Leverage, Deloitte Australia. Chair: Good Design Australia

Design is a field with a relatively a short history. Design Research has even a shorter one. Regardless of that, since John Chris Jones’s Design Methods there have been quite a few books on design methods that follow changes in the fundamental nature, scale and complexity of design problems. However, the existing books in the field mainly deal with design methods and tools for different stages of the design process. It is hard to find a serious method book for design research, despite the rapid emergence of doctoral programs in design, design research journals and design research conferences. In this regard, Research for Designers is a welcome contribution to the world of design academia as it discusses methods for carrying out systematic design research. Furthermore, this book allows the reader to choose methods for design research according to different types of design problems and not only for the different stages of the design process. In this respect, Research for Designers will be useful not only to postgraduate students and academics engaged in serious design research, but also to practicing designers dealing with large-scale, complex and cross-disciplinary design problems. 

Kun-Pyo Lee
President, IASDR. Professor and Head of Department: Industrial Design, KAIST - Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology. Former Executive Vice President / Head of Corporate Design Centre, LG Electronics

Design’s importance in social, cultural and economic terms has never been greater. So it’s a surprise that the design research community has waited so long for an authoritative and comprehensive handbook on research methods which further our understanding and knowledge of the process of designing. Research for Designers fills this gap in the literature. There’s no doubt it will become a seminal reference for those seeking to undertake research in the field.

Seymour Roworth-Stokes
Chair: Design Research Society. Professor of Design and Dean: School of Art and Humanities, Coventry University

Research for Designers explores design research based on a panorama of the evolution of design. It is a useful book for designers, educators and researchers. It is also a meaningful book, as it opens the window for enriching and improving the rationalities between design and a possible better world. While facing a new era of design activism, a new culture of knowledge creation should be involved as part of the agenda. Gjoko Muratovski’s work makes a concrete step forward.

Yongqi Lou
Professor and Dean: College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University. Vice President, CUMULUS - International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media

Flexible production technology and new business models enable companies to make almost anything. The unintended consequences include consumers confused by too many choices and managers not knowing what to make. Design offers new ways for executives to understand and fulfil people’s needs and aspirations; however, the informality of design knowledge prevents design operating at the speed and scale that is needed. Research for Designers is a major contribution to giving structure to design knowledge. This book will help companies succeed by helping people have better lives.

Patrick Whitney
Steelcase/Robert C Pew Professor and Dean: Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology

Gjoko Muratovski’s Research for Designers provides a structured approach to introducing design students and new researchers to design research. Designers embarking on research have often found it to be challenging to find books that are able to provide them with the necessary advice and guidance for success. This book helps to overcome this challenge by taking the reader through the research process from defining the research problem through to the literature review on to data collection and analysis. With such practical and useful chapters this book should prove to be essential reading in design schools across the world.

Tracy Bhamra
Professor of Sustainable Design and Pro Vice Chancellor: Enterprise, Loughborough University

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 2 - Design and Research

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