of Founding of the Society for Science of Design Studies, Japan
for the Founding of the Society for Science of Design Studies, Japan
In April 1997 the School of Science of Design* at Musashino Art University
commemorated the thirtieth anniversary of its establishment in April
1967. In consideration of the need for basic research and basic studies
related to design, following a proposal for a new idea of design called
the "basic design studies" which we also call the "science of design,"
the school was founded with the aim of cultivating new types of human
resources (planners, design researchers, etc.) with the potential to
challenge the various issues of design from a general viewpoint and
taking into account relations with other areas, rather than the conventional
training of area-specific designers. In the years since then, the results
of the activities of graduates embodying the educational and research
activities and educational idea of the School of Science of Design have
opened up new possibilities and horizons for design research and practical
activities that go beyond the conventional territory of design and have
links with other problem areas and study areas.
at the same time as the founding of the School of Science of Design,
quite unexpectedly in the area of natural sciences, a Faculty of Science
of Engineering was established at Osaka University in accordance with
new thinking about the area of science and engineering, which conventionally
had been seen in terms of a division between pure theory and applied
technology. Although of course the targeted areas differed, this faculty
shared with the basic design studies a common awareness of the problems
and perception of the times.
occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the School of Science of Design,
looking back on history, we conducted a reexamination of the new role
and issues of design and design education. In order to clarify our view
toward the twenty-first century, as a project that brought together
teaching staff, graduates, and students, we carried out a diverse examination
for more than a year, including monthly study meetings and a public
commemorative colloquium called "Suggestions by Science of Design,"
with invited speakers from abroad, to consider the achievements and
significance of the 30 years of basic design studies as a movement.
these activities, we became aware that, in order to further identify
the new problems of design toward the next generation and to solve them,
it is important, especially today, to establish a creative design knowledge
from a general perspective and based on this "idea of basics". At the
same time, moreover, we became strongly aware of the need to establish
a forum for free research and discussion--a common creative space, if
you like--so as to constantly challenge and form an affluent design
knowledge that has the strength to solve the many pressing problems
of the present world. In other words, we became aware that rather than
being limited to just an educational place, the concept of basic design
studies should have a broad social forum to include the voices of not
only related persons but also those of participants in public colloquiums,
designers in Japan and overseas who share the same problems, researchers
in related areas, and others. Hence the growing call for the establishment
of the Society for Science of Design Studies, Japan.
is a draft of the purpose of founding of the Society for Science of
Design Studies, Japan, including the background to the suggestions by
basic design studies in 1967, the historical context of the idea of
basic design studies, the problems of basic design studies, and the
objectives of the Society for Science of Design Studies, Japan.
* The English-language
notion of a Ňscience of designÓ is translated into Japanese term as
"Kiso-Design-Gaku". The Japanese term is composed of "Kiso", which
means reason, and "Gaku", which means doctorine or science. In order
to exclude a confusion with the propedeutic basic doctrine, i.e. basic
design, as the initial stage in the education of the designer, we
can say that the science of design focuses on basic research into
design similar to basic research as we know it from the fields of
medicine and the science s. The appropriate English description is
therefore the "science of design".
the Proposal for Basic Design Studies: Perception of the World and the
Horizons of Design
Through this examination, it was confirmed that the design idea of basic
design studies should indeed be the main focus of knowledge especially
today, on the threshold of the twenty-first century. The first important
point is that the roots of this idea included the new perception of
radical design called post-design design, which proclaimed the "end
of design." The second half of the 1960s was already the age of the
end of design. In the process of high economic growth, design became
entirely the target of consumption, and such problems as the excess
of commodities in industrial countries, the North-South gap, and environmental
pollution were coming rapidly to the surface. The proposal for basic
design studies assumed this perception of the world.
shortly after this, in 1972, that the Rome Club proclaimed the limits
on growth as a crisis of humankind. That is to say, the desire of the
modern world for affluence through progress in science and technology
did not necessarily lead to the happiness of humankind as a whole. Indeed,
it was clear that humankind was facing an extremely crucial crisis that
threatened its very survival, and the mode of human society in the future
was brought into fundamental question.
the pressing problems that have been considered over the years, such
as the exhaustion of natural resources and energy, the increase of population,
the food crisis, environmental pollution, excessive consumption, the
increase of waste, the widening of regional gaps in the world, the sense
of alienation among young people, the growth of social instability,
and the collapse of traditional values, have become further exacerbated
on the threshold of a new century with the addition of new serious problems,
such as dioxin and environmental hormones.
indeed cannot possibly exist unless it searches for the knowledge to
understand and solve these problems. The twenty-first century clearly
is going to be an age of post-design design. The proposal again at this
juncture for basic design studies, and the promotion of the next step
in the movement, is a call for intellectual research into this new design
and for the reform and propagation of perceptions regarding design.
of the Idea of Basic Design Studies
In the formative period of modern design, which started as a modern
art movement, the issue of the "unification of art and technology" was
brought up. But in the period after World War II, when technology achieved
rapid development, as characterized by the Hochschule fr Gestaltung
Ulm's proposals in the middle of the twentieth century, the issue came
to be understood in terms of the "unification of art and science" or
the "integration of art and engineering." It was in this context that
in 1968, aiming for a change in design education in Japan, the Kyushu
Institute of Design was established and the concept of "art engineering"
regarding Ulm's posing of the problem, rather than the unification of
art and science or engineering, it seems more precise to say that the
objective was the "integration of design and science." To put it another
way, the emphasis was placed especially on the close linkage between
design and the natural sciences or positivist knowledge.
in the period toward the end of design in the latter half of the 1960s,
it became necessary again, on a new dimension, to propose the original
meaning of modern design, which had emerged as a modern project and
a means of social reform, and its idea of society and change.
proposal for basic design studies can be seen as a new idea of social
design reform. It had become necessary once again to explore the meaning
of design. For that purpose, the integration of art and science or art
and engineering itself was insufficient. And not only that, if the problem
was seen as an issue of design reform, then historically it was not
correct to consider it a problem of art, as in the integration of art
and science. Naturally, the problem should really be seen as the integration
of design and science.
in opposition to the above-mentioned period perception and problems
of the second half of the 1960s, since design in Japan had achieved
development in close connection with industry-led sales policies and
had become segmented, it was necessary for the design side itself to
pose problems about the relationship between industry and design so
as to promote reform. If the objective of design is to tackle the issues
of the formation of a living world relating to the totality of humankind's
"life," setting the idea of coexistence with nature at its base, then
design not only must link with the natural sciences but also must have
close relations with a wide range of mental sciences, including humanities
and social science, and a comprehensive new design knowledge must be
explored. The establishment of the School of Science of Design was first
of all a response to this issue.
Studies as a Transdisciplinary Concept
In order to respond to future issues, regarding design problems and
the development of practical methodology, in addition to a basic design
specialist course, the School of Science of Design at the time of its
establishment promoted positive linkage with liberal arts, such as philosophy,
cultural anthropology, social science, psychology, and logic, and also,
as an entirely new characteristic, organized a curriculum that enabled
positive studies in connection with other academic fields and methods--
for example, semiotics, design history, technical history, information
aesthetics, cybernetics, morphology, color studies, visual methodology,
representation methodology, ergonomics, mechanism theory, image engineering,
topology, linguistics, phonetics, communication theory, stylistic theory,
special economic theory, and special social science theory.
concept of basic design studies, as well of course as new types of design
production, very interesting interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary
fields and new and attractive production and research results that can
be described as revelatory and experimental have been created in this
period that could only have been developed through linkages between
design and the scholarly fields described above. (It would have been
difficult to develop them through the research areas and methods limited
to the characteristics of each discipline itself.)
just a couple of specific examples, links with such fields as morphology,
color studies, visual methodology, and psychology have led to production
and research relating to various perceptive phenomena, beginning with
the mutual effects of color and shape, and are moving in the direction
of pioneering research and the establishment of planned methodology
on such subjects as environmental colors, which are one of the basic
principles forming the foundations of Landscape Design, the need for
which has been suggested in recent years. Also, with regard to such
current problems as human alienation and the aging society, developments
and research are being conducted toward entirely new designs as social,
living, cultural, psychological, and medical processes. For example,
experiments are underway to treat senile dementia by promoting close
communication with senile old people using art work with shapes and
colors as the medium.
between semiotics and other areas, an extremely wide range of productions,
research, and research fields has been opened up, including the cultural
semiotic decoding of design phenomena and history, as well as design
surveys, research into the design process and design methodology, the
develoment of various (nonlinguistic) visual languages like diagrams,
pictograms,and so on for visual communication, the design of icons in
computers, and the establishment of databases.
between design history and other areas, experiments have included, for
example, typography research, beginning with a basic examination of
Romanized modern typography and Japanese typography; the posing of questions
relating to the cultural development from design theory to the modern
age, with a focus on the human body (arms and legs); a study of postwar
Japanese design history not from the perspective of good design but
in terms of the social perceptions of consumers; and new surveys and
research for the study of modern Japanese design.
from linkages between sociology and other areas, in relation to life,
culture, technology, and industry in regional societies, a large number
of new design research themes and problem areas relating to production,
information, livelihood formation, and environment formation have been
opened up, such as policy research to pose new design issues, the methodology
of problem solving, and interdisciplinary research on local administration
and design. These are just some of the new research areas.
Studies as an Intellectual Tool for Creating New Design
During these 30 years, the methods of the above-mentioned education
and research have constantly been examined, and self-reorganization
befitting the times has been carried out. At the same time, the "basic"
in basic design studies means the creative intellectual tool for a new
design open to wide horizons that explores the above-mentioned problems
in a process and rhizomatous relationship. During this period, therefore,
it has been employed as an active concept tool established in the specialist
areas of design and, moreover, beyond this has constantly been unearthing
new problems and tapping new idea veins.
new technological revolution of today featuring multimedia and so on,
which has been dubbed the advanced information society, what should
our living world and society be like? How should we give concrete form
to the idea of symbiosis? And how should we regenerate the totality
of life? Once again, the social role of design, the innovativeness of
design, and, for this purpose, the academic pursuit of design and development
of the debate are being widely called for. Indeed, without this questioning,
design cannot exist or have meaning. Basic design studies have been
proposed as a tool for promoting this idea of change and its concretization
and advance. Through the concept of basic design studies, we have been
pursuing the desirable form of design and the new mode of design studies.
Judging from the present state of design, from now on design is going
to transform increasingly into a target of consumption and simply a
tool for market competition. In the field of academic research on design,
generally speaking, it can be said that there is a tendency in the traditional
design area for research to be subdivided and for research simply to
go it alone.
is a strong call for the sharing, development, and formation of a forum
for research, study, and exchange that is widely open to people--not
only in related areas, but in a diverse range of territories--who aspire
to pursue a new design knowledge, from varied viewpoints and broad significance,
on the basis of the links with various sciences that have been experimented
in education and research by the concept of basic design studies so
as to consider again what design is and furthermore to respond to the
pressing problems of design today. To put it another way, what is demanded
today fundamentally is a paradigm shift of design. Basic design studies
are a creative intellectual tool for defining the base of the new paradigm
of design. The purpose of founding the Society for Science of Design
Studies, Japan is based on this context. Today, the concept of design
is taking on a single appearance as the rays from various new intellectual
fields, such as cultural studies, human environment studies, and information
environment studies, cross and converge. The Society for Science of
Design Studies, Japan is positively calling for participation and cooperation
from these many intellectual fields.
Issues of Basic
Design Studies: Global and Regional Perspectives
In the development of basic design studies, in terms of the historical
context of modern design, so far we have pursued the formation of design
studies by criticizing and examining its history in a diverse manner.
It is for this reason that, in constant collaboration with global minds,
we have promoted many projects so far, including the world tour of the
"Moral of Things" exhibition of "the Hochshule fr Gestaltung Ulm",
a symposium commemorating the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Bauhaus,
and a related symposium on design at a turning point. Accordingly, we
have constantly been promoting the development of basic design studies
from a global perspective within international connections. This international
academic exchange and exchange of information are becoming increasingly
the Society for Science of Design Studies, Japan intends to development
as an international exchange and cooperation forum that is open to design
studies and design-related studies.
of technology, environmental problems, and so on, the problems of design
today are becoming increasingly global issues. And at the same time,
design problems in relation to regional issues, regionality, and regional
culture are becoming increasingly important, too. In this sense, it
can be said also that the academic pursuit of an intellectual framework
for design issues in Asia or the relationship between regional culture
in Japan and design issues, which cannot necessarily be understood in
the theoretic frame of Western modern design, will become increasingly
important. For this purpose, from the perspective of design studies,
it will be necessary to actively promote academic research cooperation
and exchange in the field of design with other Asian countries, which
cannot be said to have been open so far.
of international exchange, the problem will be to what extent we can
understand design issues as our own country's cultural identity. Also,
another problem will be how we interpret the relationship between the
development process of modern design, which has been received from the
West, in Japan (and its characteristics) and japanese traditional culture.
Furthermore, there must be awareness of the relationship between the
ancient views of nature and the universe in the East and Japan and design.
We would like to positively identify the Society for Science of Design
Studies, Japan as a research forum with a global perspective that at
the same time pays attention to such regional cultural aspects.
the Society for Science of Design Studies, Japan
a common recognition of basic design studies and, on the basis
of this concept, to form a design science that is open to possibilities.
academic research relating to design and the formation of design
studies from a comprehensive perspective and in connection with
other related sciences.
the question of what design is.
academic research relating to design and the exchange of information
exchange and cooperation with Japanese and foreign design-related
organizations and design-related people in other countries.
would like to establish the Society for Science of Design Studies, Japan
as a comprehensive forum of intellectual exchange with the aim of establishing
the social status of basic design studies as the dynamic science of
Representative, Preparatory Founding Committee for
the Society for Science of Design Studies, Japan