We generally put this question to fresh Architecture students. I discover lot of original views and understanding of the term “design”. I wonder, how strong are the visuals around us, that most of us fail to mention “sounds around us”, when defining “design”.

The answers that I got from recent first year students included following terms:

  • Pleasing appearance
  • representation
  • geometrical arrangements
  • different forms and shapes
  • creative arrangement
  • drawings and ideas
  • putting ideas on paper
  • purpose
  • colours
  • patterns
  • style
  • something apt to the situation.
We, faculty land up into a difficult situation, where we are confused of whether we shall explain them what design is (how many of us have understood the term?) or students will discover various truths on their own. By the end of final year, students have been fully confused with the term “design”. Everyone has “learnt” to put opinions.

Now the big question how do we, faculty tackle this?
Try and discover the presence of “design” around you. Pen down your thoughts on “the presence of design”, for example ask yourself a question “in what form design is present in the object (e.g. car)?”

Students would come up with simple answers like, colour, form, comfort, storage, interiors..etc.
OK, now they have understood , the visual presence of design atleast. Go further and ask “in what better way, this could have been done?” and be ready to welcome “amazing and original ideas on improvement”.

Now shoot a simple exercise where students are asked to create (design) something (of smaller scale) for themselves, e.g, sketch book. Ask them to first pen down ideas about the dream sketchbook that they will like to have for future years as students and give them sufficient time to design it and present it to class!

By now, they have started designing something consciously! next step would be to get into details of design theory.