I am actually kind of happy I waited a while to write about the Cross reading. While looking over my notes , I wrote down, “people know what to do because of experience.” From this quote, I really believe this is the biggest take away I have from this paper.
Probably the only part of the reading that grabbed me was the section about Phillip Starke and the Juicy Salif. It was a concrete example that backed up what Cross was saying in Design Ability on page eight, “…designing is not a search for the optimum solution to the given problem, but that it is an exploratory process.” By looking at this lemon squeezer, would anyone really know why it was designed the way it was just by looking at it? Probably not, because they do not share the same experiences as Startke. Even if they read the same comic book, there is a good chance each person understood it differently, maybe they did not even pay much attention to the alien insects in the story, but rather the army fighting back the space invaders. The experience shaped what Starke thought Juicy Salif should look like and fit into the home, he would then just have to leave it up to the engineers to figure out how it would work. However, how would an alternative experience have changed Starke’s design?
Cross wants to say a lot of it deals with intuition, using the examples of two faces or a cup and two triangles or the Star of David. Now having the chance to discuss this paper and coming back to it, I understand a lot of what he is arguing by this example. A lot of things really depend on how the designer wants to look at things. Starke got a plate of calamari, which probably had lemon on it, and he was able to draw a connection. An example outside the reading is one I saw on Project Runway Allstars. In the first episode, designers had to design a look for singer Deborah Harry. Elena had a leather jacket that was not turning out the way she was wanting it to, but intuition told her to look at it differently. She decided to put the jacket on the model backwards and the judges absolutely loved it, including the person it was being designed for.
What this comes down to, it really all depends on how the designer wants to look at things. If you look at it just as a plate of squid or as a really bad jacket that cannot be worn any other way, then the intuition of design will be harder to come to. It is when things are looked at in new ways, I believe, is what Cross was trying to argue is design thinking.