One year journey for the Design for Ideology Studio
This was an exciting and challenging year for Product Design at the University of Brighton. We introduced a new model of teaching design through vertical studios. This model not only enabled students from second and third year to work together and learn from each other, but it also made it possible for them to experience specialised design approaches and themes within thematic studios.
I lead the Design for Ideology studio, based on the idea that any design activity and thought has the potential to enable (and is the result of) ideological purpose and expression. The studio is also underpinned by the belief that designers, now more than ever, have an essential role in social transformation. Therefore, their design practice is a political and ethical statement they must be aware of.
We started the year working as a team focussed on understanding the meaning of ideology and how it influences design and designers. We explored design movements to understand their ideological base, and discussed students’ ideological stand. As a result, the team designed tridimensional tools to visualise and map products and designers within ideological parameters.
The students were free to choose their project theme. They were asked to make design proposals that responded to issues linked to specific users and contexts, underpinned on rigorous research activity. The topics were varied and included state surveillance, political polarisation, brand lead consumerism, hemp use and commercialisation, incelism and loneliness amongst others.
As a result of this approach, the students developed a wide range of design propositions, including not only commercial products, but awareness and activism campaigns, speculative design, exhibitions, interactive touchpoint, book and game design, and designed services.
While celebrating the achievements of this year’s students, I am looking forward to continuing to develop the studio, which will expand towards the territories of experience design.
Carlos Peralta PhD (Cantab)
The video below contains adult language that some viewers may find offensive.