Systems, Scale, and Consequence

Faculty: Richard TysonJames Wynn



COURSE Description

This course will trace the life of designed products and services through the systems that make them possible, valuable and meaningful. It examines some fundamental questions: What obligations must be addressed when conceiving
the scale systems of designed objects? What constraints does working at scale put on the designer? How does conceiving these consequences change how we design? This course encourages collaboration to conceive, explore and articulate the implications of designed products and services—the limits, possibilities and opportunities that shape a professional designer’s practice and career.


Course objectives

Systems, Scale, and Consequence is designed to encourage a team of collaborative, professional designers to conceive, explore, and articulate the scale implications of the work of designed products and services—the limits, possibilities, and opportunities professional designers have which shape the implications of their practice, and the choices they face in the pursuit of their careers.


Class experience

Through a series of group and personal exercises we will begin by exploring the idea of systems, mapping our own individual systems, then attempt to systematically map the systems of a series of common designed products and/or services. Subsequently we will work to develop a general means for mapping scale systems implications for any designed product or service. In the process we will surface the critical design challenges and practices facing the designer-and explore the future of design as a systems practice. The course will feature guest lecturers and studio visits with practitioners investigating different aspects of the design of systems and ground the conceptual nature of the material in the design and creation of a final project.


course deliverables

Students in this course will come away with a set of tools to:

  • Understand the role of systems and scale in design process and design outputs
  • Understand the potential systemic implications of a given design
  • Create fluency and articulateness around systems thinking and the future of design as a systems practice
  • A designed product or service that incorporates the idea of scale systems