Designerly ways of knowing

Cross, Nigel (1982). Designerly ways of knowing. Design Studies, 3(4) pp. 221–227.




This is the third paper in a series being published in Design Studies, which aims to establish the theoretical bases for treating design as a coherent discipline of study. The first contribution in the series was from Bruce Archer, in the very first issue of Design Studies, and the second was from Gerald Nadler, in Vol 1, No 5. Further contributions are invited.

Here, Nigel Cross takes up the arguments for a ‘third area’ of education—design—that were outlined by Archer. He further defines this area by contrasting it with the other two—sciences and humanities—and goes on to consider the criteria which design must satisfy to be acceptable as a part of general education. Such an acceptance must imply a reorientation from the instrumental aims of conventional design education, towards intrinsic values. These values derive from the ‘designerly ways of knowing’. Because of a common concern with these fundamental ‘ways of knowing’, both design research and design education are contributing to the development of design as a discipline.

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