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How Designers Think [Paperback]

3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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How Designers Think: The Design Process Demystified How Designers Think: The Design Process Demystified 3.7 out of 5 stars (3)
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Book Description

1 Jun 1983 0851398529 978-0851398525 New edition
This is about design problems and the design process. Design skills (or "creativity") are involved in a great many human activities, but exactly how the design process occurs has obstinately resisted explanation both by those involved in practice and by psychologists. Bryan Lawson has the unusual qualification of being both a designer and a psychologist, and this book draws on his own teaching experience, designers' own accounts of their work, and the writing of design methodologists and theoreticians. The author shows that the design process involves a variety of different types of thinking and that design skills can be acquired, practised and improved, like playing an instrument, rather than being imparted as if by some mysterious process. His book will be of great interest not only to designers seeking a greater insight into their own thought processes, but also to students of design in general.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; New edition edition (1 Jun 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0851398529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0851398525
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.5 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 514,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'An extremely readable book, due in part to the soundbite-sized chapters'
Architects Journal, 19.01.06

"There is no set path to beautiful design, and as designers we are always moving forward, looking for the next problem to solve. Lawson reminds us, however, that taking the time to engage the issues comprehensively leads to more well-rounded, and ultimately better finished products. As such, developing a solid set of foundation skills and methods are of the utmost importance, permeating into other work and yielding stronger results." — Jeremy Senko, Spacing Magazine

Reviews of previous editions:
'It has a great virtue of being thorough and readable... excellent bibliography.'
Built Environment
'This book makes a valuable, if individualistic contribution to the literature of design theory.'
Science and Technology Press
'The author succeeds in demystifying his subject for the lay reader.'
New Scientist
'The chapters are well written in a readable form and packed full of data undeniably valuable to students.'
ASI Journal
'Its success is well deserved, because it is clearly written, the arguments are logically presented, and the design process is indeed demystified.'
Architectural Science Review

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Bryan Lawson is a Professor of Architecture at the University of Sheffield. He is however both an architect and a psychologist, which has enabled him to study the nature of the design process. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It does what it says on the cover 26 Feb 2002
By A Customer
This is simply the best book about the design process that is currently available. It is written from the point of view of an architect and for architects, but almost everything it contains is relevant to all other designers - yes, even graphic designers can learn from this book!
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11 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't really relate to graphic design 28 Jan 2002
By A Customer
While Lawson's ideas are quite interesting, as a graphic designer and design educator, I find the gist of his book more related to architecture and to a lesser degree industrial design. The title is a bit of a misnomer as it sounds as if Design and solving design problems is the main theme. It should be renamed "Problem Solving for Architects".
So far I have very little insight into the visual design process.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Proffessor!! 22 Oct 2007
I don't know about the book rates compared to others but ive got THE Bryan Lawson as my architectural theory lectures teacher and he' great so I can only imagine how good this book is!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but dense 23 May 2010
By Ninakix - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed a lot of the points made in this book, however, there were a few problems with it. I found the book, at certain times, to be extremely thought-provoking about my own process, bringing to mind things that I may not have noticed if I hadn't read about it. Still, much of it felt architecture focused, and not entirely applicable to other disciplines. Additionally, Lawson seems overly academic, especially in that he does not want to propose a theory that could be seen as "wrong," meaning that what he proposes often falls on the side of boring. The book, as well, is dense, and definitely written by an Academic. Many times the points in the book are beleaguered, made too many times, and supported by one too many pieces of evidence. At times, I wish it was just a tad snappier in places.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tons of Info - Useful Conclusions: Not as Much 30 May 2011
By Richard N. Stephenson - Published on
Pros: The author brought up many good points about the design process and how it has changed over the past few decades, which was a nice history lesson. I was introduced to many `famous' designers in this book and now have real people to research should I pursue this further. The insight into the designers' minds was inspiring and thought-provoking.

Cons: The author is a little gun-shy when it comes to making actual concrete decisions. I understand that there are no earthly absolutely, but you have to make a decision some time. No real conclusions were drawn other than ~those who are creative... are creative, but that we can all be that way if we stick to it~. Examples and postulates were stated frequently, and I would hazard to guess unnecessarily so.

Assessment: Worth a quick view if on sale, in the library, or at a friend's place. Would be kind of a stretch to pay the $24 on Amazon.
9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this book 21 July 2010
By George T. Macknight - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was very disappointed with this book. Now, I'm a great collector of books on this subject line - thinking and problem solving. I'm an architect. I am forever curious as to how people think we designers think. I'm also interested in how to teach young designers to think, so I'm always looking for new tools. The discussion in this book doesn't really offer either for me. I found little that was accurate about how I design or even discussions on how people in general solve problems. I also found little that I might use to assist young designers even though the author claims to deal with young designers as a professor and an indication that the book was written for just such a purpose. Chapter Five, "Measurement, criteria and judgment" was pure unmitigated tripe. I forced myself to read this book and as a result of what I read I do not recommend that anyone buy this book. I wasted my money, don't waste yours. Instead, if I were to recommend one book for these purposes, I'd recommend "Sparks of Genius - Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World's Most Creative People" by Michele and Robert Bernstein.
10 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely excellent 5 Nov 1999
By "akienyy" - Published on
I have followed the many editions of this book. It is a classic. In this latest offering, the author has managed to keep it up to date - not easy in today's fast changing world. Well done. Look forward to the next edition.
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