Ich bin keine Fan von “name dropping”. Aber in der Designtheorie gibt es ein paar Namen, um die kommt man nicht herum: diese Designtheoretiker haben durch ihre Arbeit die Designdisziplin aus ihrem Schattendasein befreit und dazu beigetragen, dass sich ein anhaltender Diskurs entwickelte, der nun interdisziplinär geführt wird. Zu den Pionieren der Designtheorie zählen aus meiner Sicht Nigel Cross, Donald Schön, Herbert Simon, Guy Bonsiepe, Bruce Archer, Richard Buchanan und viele weitere. Wer sich langsam an die Materie herantasten möchte, dem empfehle ich folgende Bücher bzw. Artikel:

Designerly ways of knowing. CROSS, N., 2007. Basel, Switzerland; Boston: Birkhäuser.

Cross’sbook ranks among the standard works in literature about design as a discipline. He explains the central concern of design and its position in contrast to the sciences and the humanities. He argues that everyone possesses design ability-he even calls it a part of human intelligence. This ability allows professional designers to tackle ill-defined problems, a term he introduces in this book. By means of a practical design process, he presents the meaning of creative cognition in design. Concluding, he gives an overview about the current status and debates in the understanding of design as a disciplineconsideringscientific design, design science, science of design, and design research. This work has great informative value, is well written, and offers a coherent summary.


Design thinking: understanding how designers think and work. CROSS, N., 2011. Oxford; New York: Berg.

This book focuses on the design process. It is based on different case studies, illustrating how design professionals work. The way in which Cross gains information is observing designers speaking their thoughts aloud while practicing design activity, combined with interviewing participants, and evaluating data. Though its content is interesting, there are several repetitions of knowledge published in his earlier work Designerly ways of knowing


SCHÖN, D.A., 1991; 1983. The reflective practitioner:how professionals think in action. Aldershot: Avebury Ashgate.

Schön, famous for his statement “The best professionals know more than they can put into words,”was an advocate of the idea that professional knowledge evolves in the process of applyingit. His approach criticises the positivist approach, which assumes that validity is based only on credible scientific knowledge. Schön, however, takes the stance that “reflection-in-action” provokes intuitive action, another pathway of knowledge. He presents his approach and underlines its applicability by demonstrating it in three different fields of action: education, psychotherapy,and urban design.


BUCHANAN, R., 1992. Wicked problems in design thinking. Design Issues, 8(2), pp. 5-21.

This article discusses design thinking and how the discipline of design has developed in the recent past. Using the term”wicked problems”, Buchanan explains the significant capability of design compared to other sciences. The article is an important source for my research, as it shows the main concern of design ability and the application ofdesign thinking topractical scenarios.