Prof. Dr. phil. Bernhard E. Bürdek

Design – on the way to a discipline

The book explores the question about the defining developments in design in the 20th and the future developments design will be influenced by in the 21th century.

Based on the considerations in the early 20th century to discuss design as ”applied art”, centered on a simple translation error, it was in particular the ideas of the Bauhaus and the Ulm School of Design, who have determined the discourse about design both practi­cally and theoretically.

From the beginnings of modern formgiving on to the expression of a modern specification (in the 1950s/60s) the concept of design is of particular importance. The still viru­lent misunderstandings whether design has to do with art or aesthetics will be answered to the effect that design operates with key aesthetic categories. Postmodern­ism since the 1980s has specifically shown that linguistic and semantic issues determine architecture as well as design.
 Two major topics are discussed in detail:

  • The interaction of technology and design. Today, designers are not inventors but interpretants of technological principles and solutions.
  • Until now the interactions with the economy in design were largely ignored.

These two major topics are presented in detail. Today, in the sense of Gernot Böhme, the issue is not longer the needs of the people, but their desires.

In the center of contemporary design theory, design science and design research, the question of interest is how design can be emerged as a discipline. Only when it is suffi­ciently answered, it is possible to position design as a serious role in the context of cul­ture.

For the 21st Century it is particularly essential to position design in the context of other sciences. A special importance is given to the use of the products, which changes mas­sively in the era of widespread digitalization. Design that wants be taken seriously in the future, must not retreat to objects of life-style or a supposed art-design. It must approach an active role in the context of science and technology.