du Preez, Vikki

Mapping Empathy and Ethics in the Design Process



Product & Industrial Design

There is no doubt that the role of product designers has changed considerably, not least with the rise of human-centred design. While Papanek’s 1971 “Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change” seemed radical at the time, his ideas seem entirely at home in the 21st century, including his call to adopt more social responsibility in design. These views are echoed in the contemporary  findings  of  professionals  and  researchers  associated  with  ICSID,  the  International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. The focus has shifted, from the designer as the expert to the user, or community, as the expert in their own environment; and Co-design, Participatory design, and Universal Design are but a few examples of such people-focussed design approaches.

Finding Thought: an investigation into the development of critical thinking skills in Industrial Design



Design Education Research

In higher education today, it is imperative to equip students with the skills required by their future profession. One such skill, as required of a professional Industrial Designer, is the ability to find creative and suitable solutions to often complex problems. As decision making and problem solving are key elements of a professional industrial designer‘s practice, they should be developed and encouraged as part of the tertiary programme. The trend towards learner driven investigation and research, as well as interactive mixed methodologies, have facilitated many projects requiring thinking skills. But does the learning environment support and develop these skills?

DEFSA conferences

DEFSA promotes relevant research with the focus on design + education through its biennial conferences, to promote professionalism, accountability and ethics in the education of young designers. Our next conference is a hybrid event. See above for details.

Critical skills endorsement

Professional Members in good standing can receive a certificate of membership, but DEFSA cannot provide confirmation or endorsement of skills whatsoever. DEFSA only confirm membership of DEFSA which is a NPO for Design Education in South Africa (https://www.defsa.org.za/imagine).