I’ve known about Design Issues, but I have to admit that my interest wasn’t strong enough to buy a copy. I don’t think I have ever seen a copy on the newsstand.
My design education has been primarily through self-discovery, so I avoided the cerebral study of my vocation that most university students have to endure. I can think of only two designers I know who study design at this level regularly: Doug Powell and Michael Johnson. And I’m sure they already have a subscription to Design Issues, and/or they are downloading every PDF at this moment.
MIT Press is migrating their products to a new platform and using this temporary product purgatory as a reason to give to the community. As you’ll see, entire articles, reviews, and critiques are available to download in PDF form for free until April 30, 2021. This offer is a fantastic opportunity for us all to exercise the part of our brain that we don’t typically engage when it comes to design. Not only should each article challenge our perspectives on design, but exploring the bibliographies is certain to produce their own rewards.
Clicking through the issues, I found three themes of interest to my journey in design. Articles on systems and methodologies, research, and heritage. And an issue devoted to the legal industry — how convenient. Here are some articles that I have downloaded thus far:
- Why the Failure of Systems Thinking Should Inform the Future of Design Thinking by Fred Collopy
- Incremental and Radical Innovation: Design Research vs. Technology and Meaning Change by Donald A. Norman and Roberto Verganti
- Design and Innovation: How Many Ways? by Cabirio Cautela, Alessandro Deserti, Francesca Rizzo, and Francesco Zurlo
- Managing as Designing: Lessons for Organization Leaders from the Design Practice of Frank O. Gehry by Richard J. Boland Jr., Fred Collopy, Kalle Lyytinen, and Youngjin Yoo
- On the Case Study Method of Research and Teaching in Designby Maggie Breslin eand Richard Buchanan
- Design and the Cultures of Enterprises by Alessandro Desert and Francesca Rizzo
- Speaking Italian with a Swiss-German Accent: Walter Ballmer and Swiss Graphic Design in Milan by Chiara Barbieri and Davide Fornari
- Promoting Swiss Graphic Design and Typography Abroad: The Case of Paris in the 1960s by Constance Delamadeleine
- The Rapid Embrace of Legal Design and the Use of Co-Design to Avoid Enshrining Systemic Bias by Dan Jackson, Miso Kim, Jules Rochielle Sievert
- Legal Design as a Thing: A Theory of Change and a Set of Methods to Craft a Human-Centered Legal System by Margaret Hagan
While we’re discussing academic pursuits, might I also suggest this is a perfect time to read through a few of these articles and write about what you have learned. What do you find challenging to your current point of view on each topic. How might you try or consider a new strategy or tactic? Keep in mind; writing doesn’t mean you have to knock out two-thousand words on a subject (talk about boring) — try talking about what you read as if we were out having a beer. Writing is the best way to synthesize and process what you have read. And MIT Press has just given us all a nice gift in the form of free continuing education in our field.