Foregrounding the performing of designing as an ongoing experimental lived practice that is at once personal, social and institutional, this astonishingly prescient book offers fresh insights into how design expertise can be mobilized to address contemporary challenges. Its re-issue should inspire a new generation of designers to think deeply and critically about designing what makes it possible or constrains it, and its positive and negative unfolding consequences.
designing designing is one of the most extraordinary books on design ever written.
First published in 1984, reprinted with this title and cover in 1991 the book was the product of ten years of auto-critique, reflection and experimentation on writing on designing.
Offering a savage auto-critique of his own work on “methods” as well as of the wider methods and ends of advanced industrial societies as a whole, the book challenges the traditional product- and progress- orientated focus design by insisting that the world now coming into being requires designing to be understood ‘a response to the whole of life.’
But designing designing is also unique in modern design thinking in its exploration of what writing on designing might be. Combining essays, interviews, reflections, performances, plays, poems, chance procedures, photographs, collages and quotes, Jones experiments with both form and content in an attempt to make a book which ‘is not simply about designing but is instead itself an instance of the ideas and processes explored within it.’
John Chris Jones is a designer, writer, thinker. Born in Wales in 1926, in the 1950s and 60s he worked as an industrial designer and design researcher. One the founders of the design methods movement and the Design Research Society, Design Methods, his magnum opus was published in 1970. Appointed the first professor of design at the British Open University, he subsequently worked in software, in the time arts, in writing. His reflections on the web, The Internet and Everyone was published in 2000.