CHALLENGING BRIEFS; LEARNING THROUGH CLIENT AND DESIGNER ROLES IN FRESHMEN DESIGN EDUCATION
DS 88: Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE17), Building Community: Design Education for a Sustainable Future, Oslo, Norway, 7 & 8 September 2017
Editor: Berg, Arild; Bohemia, Erik; Buck, Lyndon; Gulden, Tore; Kovacevic, Ahmed; Pavel, Nenad
Author: Ekströmer, Philip; Nĺbo, Mats; Pavlasevic, Vanja; Eklöf, David; Wever, Renee
Institution: Linköpings universitet, Sweden
Section: Student Papers related to Design Education
This paper explores a design brief exchange method using freshmen students in the beginner course Introduction to Design and Product Development at XX University as a case. In design projects for clients, the design brief, irrespective of whether it is an explicit document or not, is generally seen as a critical step towards successful outcomes. From a design didactical perspective, it is a relevant question how to empower design students to engage with client-drafted briefs. In the proposed design brief exchange method, a student group drafts a design brief which they hand to a second group, while receiving a brief from a third. Every group thus performs both a client and designer role. A study was conducted on twelve student groups of 6-7 students each to investigate if and how the proposed method supports teaching students to cope with ambiguity. The students were, at several times during the course, prompted by staff to reflect on the brief they drafted in the role of clients as well as the brief received in their role as designers. Reflections were based on a set of questions and written in their project journal used for documentation in the course. Students’ and examiners reflection suggests that this is a promising approach to engage students in questioning client-drafted briefs and handle the ambiguity of design challenges.