Core 77 Design Award Winner 2016, Runner Up in the Design Education Initiative category.
In the Design Muscles, we study the things designers do everyday that shape their practice, those fundamentals which serve as the mortar between the bricks. Whether it's thriving in ambiguity or transforming a harsh critique into something productive and useful, we asked "what is different about the way designers perceive and respond to the world around them?"
These abilities support creativity and collaboration, and exist outside of specific projects and processes. In fact, during our time at the d.school, we stressed that there is not one process for design or design thinking. Indeed, lately there’s been a lot of discussion about the famous d.school hexagons, perhaps now infamous. Although such a visualization helps the process to be digestible and accessible, does it oversimplify in a way that makes design thinking seem formulaic or linear? Is process even the right word?
The Design Muscles have been run with design and non-design students and faculty—at both the undergraduate and graduate levels—as well as at organizations such as the Wikimedia Foundation and Fidelity Investments. Here are some snapshots of the artifacts and tools we produced, along with a peak into the content. Beyond these five, there are other Design Muscles to explore and develop.
Good coaches guide us on where to focus and what to practice. In the same way, with the Design Muscles, a significant source of learning and development comes from awareness and intention. It’s simple yet powerful. Although these Muscles are inherent to creative and collaborative work, many of us are not aware that we're flexing them. Once we are, we gain the opportunity to be more intentional. With awareness and intention comes a language to detect The Muscles in practice and discuss it with others. This all boils down to better collaboration and Creative Confidence.