Week 5 Homework – Part 1

Summary of Design, Development, Culture and Cultural Legacies in Asia

This article was very insightful. My understanding of it relates to how important it is to ensure that a design is culturally appropriate, and also relates to the vastness of culture. Additionally, it is also understood from the article that the phrase ‘Asian design’ is one that should be used carefully, as it is a very broad phrase that contains elements diverse as the countries in the region itself.
While culture must be considered during the design process, this is a somewhat difficult task; countries are inevitably diverse, and the culture of one country as a whole is made up of a combination of many different facets, making it difficult to understand and sum up a collective culture.
However, it is imperative for designers to understand the culture they are designing for. From the article, I understand that for a design to be done well, and in a way that it can be seamlessly implemented, the designer must have a good grasp of the ways the design is produced, sold and used at a local level. Designers must find a way to balance the methods of age-old craft techniques with the contemporary and modern techniques available today. Designs that are not culturally appropriate are destined to fail, because if they are not adequately contextualised during their conception, they become inapposite in their implementation.
It is understood from the article that consumerism plays a large role in Asian design, and that materialistic attitudes are what cause designs to be rushed and thereby culturally inappropriate. It is best for designers to make sure that their concepts are thorough and thoughtful, and are designed for the culture they are intended for, rather than being designs that try to re-shape the existing culture itself. Design has to ability to represent and instill a cultural identity, and is a collaborative process that should involve careful consideration at several levels (from the local to the overall).

Summary of Culture-Based Knowledge Towards New Design Thinking and Practice: A Dialogue

I also gained some very valuable insights from this article. My understanding of what it discusses is that culture and cultural research is dynamic and fluid; cultural mapping is an immense task, but is also immensely important in creating a design that is contextually integrated and appropriate.
I found it intriguing how design has so many facets, all of which must be considered when devising a concept. Culture is unfathomably deep and vast, but always takes its roots from somewhere, and inevitably has many different influences.
From the article, I understand that culture underpins and is a major part of every aspect of both local and global society, and as such plays a major role in influencing (and creating a use for) design. I understand that, without cultural integration, design is a great deal less functional. Additionally, design and culture are not symbiotic at just an individual user level, but are interconnected on a much larger scale, in terms of how designs are used and given value by society as a whole.
However, even beginning to understand how a culture operates (and thereby how it influences design) is no small task; because culture is never truly static, you must narrow down your research into categories, so you can realistically start to comprehend a culture.
Furthermore, cultural influences in design do not always have to be blatantly evident. After reading the article, I discovered that cultural aspects are inevitably inherent in how a design functions, as well as how humans connect to it both physically and spiritually.
From the article, it is understood that culture is not just composed of behavioural aspects, but also of non-physical aspects as well. Analogously, design not only has physical aspects and considerations, but is much broader and encompasses interaction and spirituality as well.
This article broadened my understanding my understanding of the depth and interconnectedness of design and culture, and how culture must be carefully considered when creating any design.

Comparing and Contrasting the Two Articles

The two articles had very similar overall themes: the breadth and depth of culture, the need for designs to be culturally integrated, and the interconnectedness of culture and design.
The articles both stressed the necessity of cultural understanding, but at the same time expressed just how broad and complex culture can be, as well as how it is ever-changing and adapting due to shifts in society, as well as the merging and convergence of different cultures.
The articles both iterated the importance of designs that are contextually appropriate, rather than being designed elsewhere and implemented with little consideration of how they will be used at a local level.
Additionally, the articles both discussed how culture and design are inextricably connected, and both influence each other on many levels.

Key Learnings from the Articles

Both articles were extremely insightful, and caused me to think about a wide range of design and cultural ideas that I had previously not considered.
I learnt a great deal from both articles, mainly to do with just how important culture is in terms of design, as well as how it is imperative to ensure that a design will function and be accepted in its intended environment. I also learnt just how vast culture really is, and how important it is to comprehend aspects of it that relate to whatever you are designing.
I learnt that Asian design is an unfathomably broad topic, and one that is complex yet intriguing, from both cultural and design perspectives.


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