Artful Design takes readers on a journey into the art and philsophy of design. There is a path from beginning to end, as chapters develop through computer music instruments, toys, visual, audio, toys, games, social tools, and a moral-ethical dimensions of artful design. But you’re also invited to find your own way.
• Read slowly. Give yourself time and space to think. The visual context is as important as the text, so inhabit the world created on each page.
• Read Chapter 8 (p.398) — perhaps even first. Circle back and see how the rest of the book connects into it.
• Channel your inner-nerd (and philosopher). It's a very nerdy book. Revel in it.
• Listen to your favorite music when reading. It won't help you read the book, but music is awesome!
CHAPTER 1: Design Is ________ | What is design? A working definition, and the abiding elements of design as a human institution; The difference between means vs. ends, pragmatics vs. aesthetics
CHAPTER 2: Designing Expressive Toys | Connecting people to musical expression through technology; Mobile phones; The designs of music-making apps: Ocarina and I Am T-Pain
CHAPTER 3: Visual Design | Principles of designing interactive visuals; Forms, motion, personality and strange design loops; Cats and the design of the world's most depressing photo album software
CHAPTER 4: Programmability and Sound Design | The art of programming and the design of musical sounds, from Ada Lovelace to computer music programming languages; Simulating the THX Deep Note to transforming reality with computers (and some audio digital signal processing)
CHAPTER 5: Designing Expressive Toys | The membrane of interaction between humans and technology; Interaction loops, musical instruments, embodiment in design; The birth of the Laptop Orchestra
Interlude: Dialogue with a Zen Master | A visit to a teacher and zen master of computer music instrument design, high up in the mountains; The philosophy of music-making coffee mugs, squeezevoxes, rubber chickens; Pondering life, engineering education, and Everything
CHAPTER 6: Game Design | Designing for play and gamification; Three case studies of games: Starcraft 2, Save the Date, and That Dragon, Cancer; The design of musical games like Magic Piano and Magic Fiddle
CHAPTER 7: Social Design | Shaping technology to connect humans; Thinking about values of social tools; Expressiveness and transparency; The (largely under-tapped) power of designing for strangers; Mechanical Turks, clouds, crowds, and social karaoke
CHAPTER 8: Manifesto | It all comes together in this final chapter; The conscience of this book, and the search for design's nature, purpose, and meaning in the crucible of our ever more technological world; Are we happy? Designing from both needs and values; The "humanist engineer" and the "pi-shaped individual" (and why humanities, art, and social sciences intrinsically matter to engineers); Aesthetic self-fashioning and pursuing human flourishing; The Everyday Sublime
Coda: In Search of the Sublime | (The end is the beginning.)