Are you speaking my language?

We all use words in our vocabulary that are specific to certain topics or themes. If you work as a designer it’s funny that the word ‘design’ has a limited life span when applied to certain contexts.

What kind of design? What design is appropriate? How should that be designed?

This is a problem we are working through on a current Here + Now project. We are developing how we can translate thoughts, ideas, actions and problems into a pattern language that can be used to build design statements and briefs. If you work within a profession that is normally unfamiliar with describing spaces it can be hard to transition from notions and thoughts into real time briefing and actions.

We’ve been looking into how children see the outdoor environment and it’s been stated that they categorise elements or ‘signifiers’ into two groups; positive + negative elements.

It’s very natural for people to think of things in this way but there are also the ‘grey areas’ the cultural thoughts or changes that may be needed to develop a truly relevant design. Things like ‘safe’ and ‘simulative’ for instance may be more linked to a cultural design pattern language. On the other hand, ideas for a more sheltered area or seating are quite easily defined as physical design statements.

A tool is required to bridge to gap between ‘non-designers’ and designers. A design or pattern language could allow the two to work more collaboratively which is a key aim for the Here + Now team. We try to put people at the heart of our design process and by developing a platform for translating design conversations, we can help the people that make a place really;  make . a . place.