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'Trust me, I am a designer', why is there a lack of trust in design expertise?

Gulari, Melehat Nil; Fairburn, Susan; Malins, Julian


Melehat Nil Gulari

Susan Fairburn

Julian Malins


The design field has broadened to include a wide range of design interventions following the promotion of concepts such as design thinking that are based on a generalist mind-set. Yet, some designers as specialist-generalists find it difficult to communicate their expertise. As Kripperndorf's (2009) quotation illustrates, 'designers who know a little bit of everything, none too deeply, are universal charlatans.' This paper focuses on the perceptions held by Small and Medium Enterprises' (SMEs) regarding design expertise. It examines the issue through a series of interviews conducted with individuals representing SMEs and designers. It discusses the nature of design expertise, questions why there may be a lack of trust in design expertise. It investigates the confusion emerging from a generalist-specialist dichotomy and tries to uncover the difficulties in communicating design expertise. This paper aims to contribute to this unresolved dialogue that is taking place between businesses and designers working in partnership.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Start Date Apr 17, 2013
Publication Date Apr 19, 2013
Institution Citation GULARI, M.N., FAIRBURN, S. and MALINS, J. 2013. 'Trust me, I am a designer', why is there a lack of trust in design expertise? Presented at the 10th European Academy of Design conference (EAD 10): crafting the future, 17-19 April 2013, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Keywords Design expertise; SME; Generalist; Specialist; Design consultancy
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