Meaning, Concept, and Design Thinking: The Implication of Symbolic Interactionism for Design Education

By Jain Kwon, PhD.

Published by The International Journal of Design Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: August 4, 2016 $US5.00

"Concept" is an intangible property of design that is often considered ambiguous in its definition. The multidisciplinary approach of this study to design thinking, which encompasses art, design, and social sciences, discusses about the process in which entry-level interior design students learn about people’s spatial experience and design concept in relation to the meanings ascribed to built environments. Interpretive approaches to human experience and meanings are integral to interior design. The author pays attention to the pragmatist perspective of symbolic interactionism that focuses to balance the interpretive and methodic tendencies in social sciences. Symbolic interactionism explains the way individuals establish meaning through interactions with other entities, objects, in social contexts. This paper illustrates how the construct of symbolic interactionism is integrated into development of a pedagogical framework used in an entry-level interior design studio in which students practice interpretation of abstract and visual objects, learn conceptual development, analyze a spatial setting, and, finally, design a spatial setting that promotes meaningful human experience.

Keywords: Design Methods, Design Thinking, Interdisciplinary, Interior Design, Symbolic Interactionism

The International Journal of Design Education, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp.35-43. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: August 4, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 779.774KB)).

Jain Kwon, PhD

Assistant Professor, Interior Design, Lamar Dodd School of Art, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA