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“Scientism”, rationality, and practicing design

Even though it was written by someone from frog, I have to give props to Ben McAlister’s “The Science of Good Design: A Dangerous Idea.”. At some point soon-ish I plan on writing about some of the follies of how design consulting is bought and sold, and Ben hits on a key aspect — the need for certainty from the design process. The reason designers will cite research in a scientistic fashion is because clients seek dependability and predictability. This is one of many holdovers from Industrial Age bureaucratic thinking, and will be among the most difficult to root out.

The challenge that practicing designers, though, is how not to come across as simply arbitrary. Design warrants a rationale, but should not be stifled by obsessively conforming to rationality.