Industrial Design

Design Sciences | Faculty of Engineering, LTH

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Welcome to the 17th Nordcode seminar!

Date: November 7 - 9, 2018

 Division of Industrial Design at Lund University, Sweden

 Department of Design Sciences, IKDC, LTH, Lund, Sweden

Target group: Scholars, doctoral students, practitioners and others from the fields of design studies, design history and culture, media, communication and branding studies, interaction design and related fields

 The seminar is free of charge

Please save the date! More information including programme and registration details will follow in due course.

Call for Papers

The purpose of Nordcode is to stimulate scholarly discussion and act as a platform to support growing a design research community by encouraging established as well as emerging researchers in the field. Scholars, doctoral students, practitioners and others from the fields of design studies, design history and culture, media, communication and branding studies, interaction design and related fields, are welcome to take part in the seminar with working papers. The papers may present finished research, work-in-progress or initial ideas, as we believe in the value of discussion and co-development of proposed ideas.

Important dates

Extended abstract: June 22, 2018

Notification: June 29, 2018 

Paper Submission: October 5, 2018

Extended abstract: Abstracts are invited with a length up to 1000 words. If the abstract is accepted, the working paper will also be accepted, as long as the working paper is in line with the content of the abstract, properly completed and meets sufficient quality standards. 

Notification: The Nordcode reviewers will provide short feedback on submitted abstracts with comments and advice for alterations.

Paper submission: Accepted abstracts will be invited to be submitted as working papers of up to 2500 words in length. Although we recommend APA references, the structure and format of paper submissions is free as we encourage discussion across disciplinary borders. 

Topic: Intuition and evidence in design

The core of designers’ work may be said to revolve around the subjectively experienced and perceived. Often, the contribution of designers is, or is expected to be, the ‘wow’ factor; that, which uniquely sets something apart from something else. In this sense, design adds dimensions of aesthetics, empathy, pleasure, and usefulness, and in wider terms to meaning, desirability, identity, and culture. 

Yet, the work of the designer is constantly evolving, and, in line with the human concerns it addresses, also finds itself, or is forced into, new avenues of application. Designers of today work not only with enhancing the subjective qualities of physical artefacts, but also with creating solutions involving services, organisations, environments, and systems in various contexts, and for meeting a diverse range of needs. These may be in places, situations, and contexts far from the personal and well-known territory of the individual designer.

Design as a discipline may be described as oscillating in a continuum between the artistic, the humanistic, and the scientific. None of them can be removed without removing the essence of design. Yet, a designer can be anyone trained in crafts, arts, engineering, architecture, or in fields of science and technology. In fact, design as a term has become so loosely defined that anyone who employs a human centric approach to solving problems may be called a designer. 

However, our approaches to addressing change, including how to understand needs, solve problems, and create solutions, varies widely depending on how we understand design. Designers may on one hand be the sole locus, ideator and creator of change, or, as we increasingly experience; take the role of the facilitator and moderator in nurturing such processes of change. Regardless, in the designerly role, designers need to negotiate the movement from one condition to the other, and thus need the tools to argue for the quality of the solution, whether sensory, cognitive, emotional, instrumental, or in other ways defined.

In this Nordcode seminar, therefore, we explore the boundaries of designerly work, that of assuming and knowing– in other words, the dichotomy intuition and evidence – in design. Given the situation outlined above, we may claim that both are needed in design. However, they may not be intuitive, nor easy to negotiate, or explain. How do we balance the need for both intuition and evidence in the processes of design, whatever we create? Intuition may be a powerful force in instigating change. But intuition cannot roam free. We need evidence to support what we do. However, if what we do is in the domain of the experienced, perceived, and interpreted, how do we know that our solution, whether individually or collaboratively created, ‘works’? What can we know about relevant and valid principles of design, and how may we find out?

We are inviting practitioners, researchers, educators, students and other to submit working papers which explore, problematize and reflect upon the intertwining of intuition and evidence in design. Questions we would like to address, thus include, but are not limited to:

  • When do we use/need assumptions in design? When do we use/need knowledge in design? What for, why, and how?

  • How do we balance the movement between intuition and evidence in our work as practitioners, researchers, and students of design?

  • What is the role of the design, what can designers contribute with, in a world of fake news and scepticism towards transparency and freedom?

  • Is there a risk of trusting intuition? When do we need evidence in design? When do we need intuition? What for, why, and how?

  • How does the need for both intuition and evidence affect the various roles and activities of design?

  • What are the implications if change is introduced based only on intuition?

  • Is there an ethical dilemma which we need to address more deeply, or in other ways?

  • Is it possible to obtain ‘evidence’ that a design ‘works’, or that a process of designing is ‘appropriate’ or ‘relevant’? Is this even a relevant question?

These questions may be explored relating to whatever type of artefact we choose to shape through design – product form, services, critical design, experiences, environments, or others. In addition to the special topic of the seminar, we also welcome submissions that fall under the various other traditional Nordcode themes within communicative design, including design, semiotics/semantics, form design, design syntactics, design aesthetics, design research methodology, design processes, tools and methods, identity aspects of product form, form perception, form experience and pleasure, cultural signification of design, and points of contact with visual arts. 

In the informal and constructive spirit of Nordcode, we emphasise and encourage the following:

  • the focus on working papers rather than finished work (although such work is not excluded),

  • the opportunity to discuss and develop emerging concepts and question as well as established ones,

  • the focus on assessing contributions based on potential and providing constructive, forward looking rather than normative advice in reviews, in order to support the creation of an including and encouraging community.

In order to support the above, innovative formats are encouraged apart from the written text, which allow for creative, critical and constructive discussions to stimulate the development of emergent ideas and researchers.



Page Manager:


Deadline: October 20, 2018

Preliminary programme

is now available

Important Dates (NEW!)

Submission of extended abstract: June 22, 2018

Notification: June 29, 2018 

Submission of Paper: October 5, 2018


Elin Olander
PhD, Researcher
+46 46 222 36 33

Anders Warell
PhD, Professor
+46 46 222 82 23

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