"Critical History of Design" “Mapping Design Strategies” Theory of Design, Bachelor of Arts & Science


DESN1001 Ideas (6 credits)

This course explores the history of design, through both Eastern and Western industrial revolutions up to the emergence of the knowledge economy and fourth industrial revolution’. It considers key figures in design, science and art, by examining the creative processes that enabled their work. The goal of the course is to familiarize students with the principles of design and understand it through methodology and execution. Students will examine design not as a cohesive or isolated product of any formal school of thought but rather as a complex and contradictory history bound by prevalent theoretical, social, environmental, technological, political and economic considerations. Throughout the course, students will touch upon two key influences in the development of design thinking: changes brought about by technology and received ideas of progress stemming from the utopian legacy of the Enlightenment.

Assessment: 100% continuous coursework assessment

Course Structure

Sep 02
 Introduction to Ideas
Assignment 1
Sep 09
 Overview of Design History and key figures. Mindmapping, Bibliography and collaboration tools
Sep 16
 Key figure 1: arts & crafts. Industrial revolutions
 Bibliography + Map
Sep 23
 Key figures 2, 3: mass production, mass customisation
 Bibliography + Map
Sep 30
 Key figure 4: Enlightenment. Critical design
 Mini essay
Oct 07
 Public Holiday
Oct 21
 Key Figure 5:  Design thinking. Human-centered design & Posthumanism. System Design. Complex data visualisation
Oct 28
 Map of Design Strategies (past), book, exhibition design, website
 Exhibition, website 
Nov 2 
 Information day (Saturday) Postponed
Nov 04
 Design+ Strategies (Leadership, Improvement from Feedback, Exhibition )
Nov 11
 Conscious Design Principles.
 Mini essay
Nov 18
 Presentation, Dress rehearsal
 Map, manifesto
Nov 25
 Final Submission + Exhibition + Presentation
 Manifesto, paper


Concept of the book as a collection of student’s essay collection


The study of Design as a discipline is typically done through historical lenses or focused on specific techniques and styles. In the context of design education and practice, it is useful to examine the different strategies available to the designers to convey their ideas, values and affect change in the world.

In the “Case Studies” section, we analyse specific objects, deconstruct their strategies. We map the strategies, making connections, making sense and understanding the underlying forces and principles of design. In the “Strategic Designs”section, we create and experiment with new design strategies with tangible objects.

This document is a tool for designers to understand existing products strategies and create their own.

Book with student’s essays and hands-on works

20200122 Mapping Design Strategies.docx303190.3KB
20200122 Mapping Design Strategies.pdf208980.6KB