Archive for the ‘Isms & Ologies’ Category

Braun SK55, Snow White’s Coffin

20 March 2009

Braun SK55, the arrival of mainstream modernism in consumer product design.

Recently, thanks to the kindness of Michael Hohl,¬† I acquired a wonderful Braun SK55 radiogram from the early 1960s. This is the direct descendent of the Braun SK4, Snow White’s Coffin, one of the completely original products designed by Dieter Rams that transformed Braun’s brand in the late 1950s. It’s remarkable that things like this were being made even before transistors¬† took over the market to allow the design freedom behind today’s compact robust electronic products.

Here it is (or one just like it)


An Argumentative Process? (2009)

2 March 2009

Wicked Problems, useful or just interesting?

Last week I gave a short presentation on wicked problems to a workshop in the Creativity Centre at Brighton University. I had been asked to do something that would provoke discussion in a mixed audience of artists, designers, business people, engineers and others.

I chose wicked problems because they seem to encapsulate a number of useful ideas about designing and what designers do. Creative people seem to enjoy the idea of wicked problems whereas some others see them as nasty medicine that we have to take whether we like them or not. Since the idea of the wicked problem was first proposed by Rittel and Webber (eg Cross, 1984) and was promoted by Richard Buchanan (1992) it has attracted an increasing amount of interest from the design community, although there have been suggestions that it is little more than an interesting theory, having no practical application. To put it another way, it does not contribute to method or methodology.

However Rittel and Webber give us a persuasive description of the process of solving wicked problems: