Making a drama out of a process: how television represents designing

Lloyd, Peter (2002). Making a drama out of a process: how television represents designing. Design Studies, 23(2) pp. 113–133.



In recent years there has been a trend towards television programmes being specifically about design processes at both popular and documentary level. The Designs on Your… Bra/Loo/Car series of programmes, first broadcast in 1998 in the UK and featuring the design agency Seymour-Powell re-designing familiar products, provides an opportunity to look at the issue of how television represents designing. The paper provides quantitative and qualitative analyses of the programme contents to show the overall programme structure together with techniques of representation and characterisation. The paper concludes that although the programmes represent (and accentuate) designing in fairly traditional ways - and ways in which industrial design engineering is generally taught - they do carry an important, and perhaps implicit, subtext, illustrating the decision-making of other participants in the process. These conclusions concur with recent work in design theory challenging the idea of designers as ‘individual geniuses’.

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