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Existential Design

Existential Design

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The way we see changes the way we live. Sometimes we do not see things as they are, we see things as we are. The philosophy of Existentialism, provides perspectives surrounding the fundamental forms of human existence.

This is an important design consideration and can have a significant impact on us as designers and the work we produce. Understanding this can help designers become more aware and enable them to critically analyse design methods and examine their working process in an alternative way.

My project looks closely into what Existentialism can do for design and uses speculative design questions to challenge narrow assumptions, preconceptions and givens about the role design plays in everyday life. I have discovered a philosophical basis for reconstructing the design process and my publication reveals what Existential Design is and how understanding it can benefit design outcomes. I present a formulated design approach which through thought provoking questions, encourages conversation and reflection while indirectly giving the end user extensive attention.


Moreover, my project presents an alternative way for thinking about design and aims at illuminating Existential Design as a concept. Implementing my set of 30 cards when creating work or approaching a brief will enable a designer and stimulate their consideration of aspects of personhood along with important design principles that are often forgotten. In this way they open up a brief or reflect on their process in a more analytical and objective manner.

The cards are not a ‘how to guide’ but rather a design tool meant to stimulate critical thinking, conversation and reflection whilst guiding the designer into a space where they can develop and reflect on ideas surrounding design and their creative process. They can be used in a variety of ways through all stages of a project. They can be sorted into even categories each exploring one core theme of Existentialism or drawn at random.