Research for Designers

Meredith James
Assistant Professor
Graphic Design

Portland State University

There are a number of textbooks on the market for research strategies used by designers, from A Designer’s Research Manual by O’Grady and O’Grady, to Visual Research by Bestley and Noble, to Design Research by Laurel and Lunenfeld. These texts offer a range of approaches, from marketing strategies used by designers, to more academic case studies. However, what is missing from the marketplace is a simple “how-to” guide that introduces basic primary and secondary research techniques to students.

This presentation will provide a literature review of tactics every designer and educator should know, and then present a practical research guide created for designers that fills the gap in existing literature. This pocket guide is being used in design classes at both foundational and advanced levels. Our students work has advanced to be more culturally and critically aware due to the implementation of these techniques.