Dsgn 1 - Design of Everyday Things

DSGN 1: Design of Everyday Things

DSGN 1 is not only a new course but a new type of course, a studio-based course. It will be offered for the first time this coming Fall Quarter 2015, jointly taught by Professors Don Norman and Jim Hollan in a newly created studio space in HSS. The textbook for the course will be Professor Norman’s Design of Everyday Things. You will learn to observe, analyze, and understand the role design plays in our lives, which also means you will be in a good position to improve and create the designs of the future.

Look around. Virtually everything you see was designed: the layout of keys on your laptop, even the font used for the letters, the shape and placement of your front door knob, the ways you control your car, how you swipe to interact with your smartphone. All were designed.

But how well were they designed? Could they be designed better? And on a deeper level, how does the way things are designed shape our minds and how should what we know about our minds shape design?

We examine not only the visible features of designed objects but also the less visible features of process and interaction (e.g., how we queue to obtain service at an ATM, why we decide to grasp an object in a certain way, or sit in that specific seat in the waiting room), the implicit and explicit ways design influences our interaction with the world and with each other, and the process of design itself.

DSGN 1 is a first course in the principles of design. It focuses on thinking, observing, and making. Design is as much about identifying problems as finding solutions. It is fundamental to making the world a delightful, productive,l and wonderful place to live. As a student you are involved in designing your education as well as your life.

The class is housed in a studio space. During class time we will work together on projects to help develop the skills involved in designing. Most lecture material will be presented outside of class, via video and online exercises. You will observe, photograph, and design.  In class we will brainstorm, prototype, discuss, critique, and work together to become better designers.

For more information about the course contact us via email ( or For information about our lab go to To register for the course online, select DSGN 1 -- Subject: Design, Course Number: 1, section ID #852567: Lecture TuTh 12:30p-1:50pm and section A01 Wednesday 12pm-1:50pm in HSS 1346.

Read more at: