Most people think of design as the way something looks and feels. But as Steve Jobs said: "Design is how it works."
Successful design is the core motivation behind RMIT's expanded design professoriate.
Gerda Gemser, Professor of Design, Business, and Sarah Pink, Professor of Design, Media Ethnography, were the first two such appointments.
Joining them are Ma Qian, Professor of Design, Multifunctional Structures, Xiaojun Qiu, Professor of Design, Audio/Sound Engineering, and Paul Carter, Professor of Design, Urbanism.
Gerda Gemser is from Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands and is a recognised researcher within the field of design and innovation management in the creative industries.
She has published in management and design journals such as Organization Science, Organization Studies, Journal of Management, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Design Studies and International Journal of Design.
Gemser is based in the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing, in the College of Business.
Sarah Pink arrived in 2012 from Loughborough University in the UK.
She is known internationally for her research, which combines theoretical scholarship with methodological innovation and applied practice.
Her current projects, funded by research councils and industry partners in Australia and the UK, focus on digital media, energy, sustainability, wellbeing, activism and safety.
She has published 15 books as well as many articles in leading journals, and is also a global authority on visual and sensory ethnography methodologies.
Pink is based in the School of Media and Communication, in the College of Design and Social Context.
Ma Qian comes to RMIT from The University of Queensland, where he was a Reader in Materials Engineering in the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering.
Qian has an international reputation in light metals research and his current major research interests include additive manufacturing (3D printing) of metallic structures for both structural and functional applications including biomedical applications, alloy design for additive manufacturing , powder metallurgy of titanium, solidification of metals and modelling.
At RMIT he is based in the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering.
Specialising in audio engineering, Xiaojun Qiu hails from China's Nanjing University, where he was the Head of the Department of Acoustical Science and Engineering and Director of the Institute of Acoustics.
His main research areas include noise and vibration control, room acoustics, electro-acoustics and audio signal processing.
Some of Qiu's major design projects include reduction of car noise, sound absorption materials, headphones and loudspeakers and factory noise plans and controls.
Qiu is based in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
The politics and poetics of placemaking is at the heart of Paul Carter's career.
Carter is a lauded academic and artist, having received two consecutive Australian Research Centre Professorial Research Fellowships among many other national and state design awards.
Carter is well-known for his artwork Nearamnew, which can be found at the Melbourne landmark, Federation Square.
His book Material Thinking, published in 2004, focuses on the theory and practice of creative research, while his 2008 follow-up Dark Writing: Performance, Geography, Design extends creative research theory and practice into the domain of planning.
Carter is based in the School of Architecture and Design.
Story: Kate Jones
Photo: Margund Sallowsky
This story was first published in RMIT's Making Connections magazine.