A New Paradigm
The introductory article for the special issue of She Ji on the Future of Design Education traces paradigmatic shifts indesign, from the twentieth-century mass production of artifacts to the twenty-first-century stewardship of evolving product-service ecologies. These shifts argue for a systems approach to the complex problems brought on by the industrial and information revolutions. Setting the stage for topic articles in the issue, Rethinking Design Education describes connections among human activities and technologies that are life-centered in their long-term impact on and by humankind. These changes are not simply in the things designers make but in the “why” of design practice under a paradigm that no longer focuses on the production of tangible goods. The introduction also addresses corresponding shifts in where designers now take action (for example, influencing organizational purpose, governance, infrastructure, and strategy, not just consumer-facing messages, objects, and spaces) and the lengthening time horizons for evaluating design effects in natural, social, and technical systems. Ten principles for today’s designers offer guideposts for practice and inform a critique of the industrial-era traditions still present in much of contemporary design education.