Oct 11/12
By Joe Ross

Overview of a film: Design & Thinking

As a fairly new San Diegan, I wanted to tap into the San Diego Design scene and experience the offerings of a local design event. When I heard there was a viewing of a design centric film called Design & Thinking last Thursday evening at the MoPA (Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park), I thought I’d give it a shot.

The film focuses on the importance of design in relation to business models, social problems, and cultural issues. During the course of the film, traditional designers as well as non-traditional designers were interviewed. Heads from IDEO (a leading design and innovation consultancy) and AIGA(American Institute of Graphic Arts) provided insights, in additional to a filmmaker, a cooking teacher, a biologist, a bicycle maker and others discussed how fundamental design theories are incorporated into their process for their specific fields.

A repeated theme presented in the film is the idea that designers (may they be chefs, scientists, or industrial designers) must not fear making mistakes during their process, and that the process of exploration is more important than being concerned with failure. For example, the biologist said most of the students in his field write a thesis their first year, but by their senior year the same thesis often contradicts their early hypothesis, driven by new discoveries they found along the way. I can relate to this methodology in my design process. As a designer, I try not to get bogged down by my own judgements and critiques when putting down ideas. Instead, I hash out all the ideas, be it good or bad, which eventually leads to the appropriate solution.

While the title and theme of Design & Thinking appears targeted toward designers, I would recommend the film to anyone who applies creative and critical thinking to solve problems. The film does a good job with breaking down the the fundamental definition of design, and presents it in a way that is relatable and palatable for those who may not be familiar with what "design" is, beyond the face value of "decoration" or "pretty pictures".

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