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• This overview of
design for the
Art Institute of
Chicago’s new wing
of design images
from early sketches
through presentation renderings and
models [ 13].
statements that read very much like
“lessons learned for next time.”
Representations like this cast
such cases as poor imitations
of knowledge-building tradi-
tions to which they are ill suited.
Design does not lead to a singu-
lar correct answer, so the design
case must be flexible enough
to accommodate the unpredict-
able nature of design and its
outcomes. Design cases cannot
serve, and should not be seen
as attempts, to prescribe action
on the part of other designers.
to produce rigorous design cases
benefit novice and experienced
designers alike. Their publication
multiplies those benefits by providing rich precedent to all designers in a domain, and by exposing
to clients and the public the specialized forms of knowledge used
by designers in their work. Over
time, sharing rigorous precedent
across a design community can be
expected to raise the shared standards for reflection and the disciplined use of design knowledge
in that community. Even in communities already accustomed to
producing volumes of high-utility
precedent, rigorous design cases
can play this role.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Elizabeth Boling is a professor of
instructional systems technology
and associate dean for graduate
studies in the School of Education
at Indiana University. Her research
interests include visual design for
information and instruction, design education, and
design knowledge. She is editor-in-chief of
International Journal of Designs for Learning.
Kennon M. Smith is an assistant
professor in the Interior Design
Studies Group within the
Department of Apparel
Merchandising and Interior
Design at Indiana University. Her
research interests include the
development of design expertise and the evolution
of meanings of design within and between design
September + October 2012
Rigorous Design Cases and
Building Disciplined Practice
The reflection and focus required
© 2012 ACM 1072-5520/12/09 $15.00