A look into: Delft Design Guide the Revised Edition



The revised edition of the Delft Design Guide by Annemiek van Boeijen, Jaap Daalhuizen and Jelle Zijlstra will be out on the 18th of February! After the first successful book, which was published in 2013, the authors have updated the complete guide, resulting in a book that has more than 33% new content and updated views on the current design environment and creative approach. But how exactly have things changed? And how did the Delft Design Guide gathered this in its 224 pages? We asked Annemiek van Boeijen a few questions that give you insights on the new book and the rapidly changing field of design. Read along below! 


  1. There are 30 new perspectives, models, approaches and methods. How do these enhance the Delft Design Guide?

We have added new perspectives such as Design for Behavioural Change, Speculative Design, and Culture-Sensitive Design. They underline the societal concerns that designers must anticipate. The broad variety of new perspectives makes clear that designers need to take a stance and that design researchers need to develop methods to support these perspectives. One model has been added to the model category, a result of the growing need to design for people’s long term needs and aspirations rather than to jump to quick solutions that do not last long. Ten out of twelve approaches in the approach category are new; approaches such as Data-Centric Design and Persuasive Game Design, highlight ways to design, offering comprehensive processes for design that spans across phases. The methods are restructured and according to the phases Discover, Define, Develop, and Deliver (known as the Double Diamond, (Design Council, 2004). Although most methods are not bound to one phase, we believe that the structure helps to make them purposeful. Some methods that are not taught in Delft anymore are removed, while others, such as Thing Ethnography and Wizard of Oz, are added. New examples on the left-hand pages illustrate the complex world we are in and they hopefully inspire the readers to think about what design can do and should not do.


  1. Are there more things that distinguish this new Delft Design Guide from the old one apart from the added perspectives, models, approaches and methods? In terms of approach or coverage?

In the introduction ‘Guide to the Delft Design Guide’ we focus on the role of a designer and how he or she might use the guide in design projects. This new section distinguishes different types of design projects that need their specific approach. Depending on the kind of design project, both the intended impact and manifestation (form) can be either open or more fixed. The main message here is that each design project has its own process that needs to be developed in advance. The Delft Design Guide can help to design that process.


  1. How does the revised version of the Delft Design Guide fit more in the current timeframe as opposed to the old one (which was released in 2013)?

Nowadays, extra attention is paid to the ‘raison d’être’ of design; why do we design what we design? What is the long-term effect on society? What problems do we solve do we create in the long term? And, indeed, what problems do we create? With the perspectives and examples, we hope to give designers food for thought and help them find their direction. The new Delft Design Guide shows examples of services and complex problems where designers – as educated in our school – can play a relevant role. In some approaches and methods ethical concerns are explicitly mentioned.


  1. All subjects in the books are enriched with the ‘mindset’ component. Could you explain what this is and how it adds value to the explained methods?

The mindset component describes the values or principles that are underlying the approach or method. It starts from the premise that methods and everything that we create cannot be value free, but is based on (cultural) meaning and beliefs. For example, an underlying principle of Vision in (Product) Design, is that a designer’s individual choices in a design process should be authentic. These starting points have been made explicit to be able to discuss them and take responsibility for the choices made.


  1. What is your own perspective on the current industry and how do you think it will evolve in the near future?

Since I graduated in 1990, I regularly reflect on the meaning of design in different societies. I am happy that there is more consideration for sustainable solutions, though there are still many products, services and other manifestations of design that I think we really do not need and that we should not design, because they create more problems than they solve. From a global perspective, the current industry is still based on profit, which means growing markets and less is not more, but more is better. On a smaller scale, I am happy that more and more designers find ways to contribute to more sustainable development. In our faculty researchers and students work, for example, on solutions for a circular economy or use their design competences to develop new policies. Fortunately, companies and other organisations are starting to recognise this changing role of designers. I also believe that the new Delft Design Guide will be a great ambassador.


The Delft Design Guide is available from the 18th of February via here!

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