Designer DingDing Tian explains how to push your design practice into new areas by broadening your horizons and embracing new ideas.
Tian graduated from RMIT this week with a Master of Design Innovation and Technology (MDIT), which encourages and prepares design leaders for the rapidly changing environment of the future.
What are the top three reasons you would recommend studying a Master of Design Innovation and Technology?
1. MDIT enables access to the latest design thinking, which broadens your horizons.
2. Each year there are study tours to different countries.
3. RMIT has excellent teachers, great design facilities and a really nice workshop.
How will studying the MDIT potentially enhance your career?
My design background is in industrial design, and the MDIT has taught me skills in parametric design, soundscape design and working with the Internet of Things (IoT) among many other things.
Recently I went on a study tour to ELISAVA, a highly regarded design school in Barcelona, and Tsinghua University in Beijing. Exposing myself to such diverse experiences helped me discover my interest in user experience and interaction design, which is where I’m concentrating my practice now.
How is design practice changing right now and how will it change into the near future?
In the area of user experience and interaction design, which I think is a really important area in the information age, we need to focus on what the user actually wants, and not just what the designer thinks the user wants.
Sometimes, the “pain points” designers focus their time on aren’t actually that painful for users, and designers can make better use of their ideas and resources elsewhere.
What take-away lessons from the MDIT do you incorporate into your daily work activities?
MDIT students come from many different backgrounds, like architecture, industrial design, interior design, engineering and so on. That diversity can have a huge impact on your own way of thinking.
I think the most useful lesson is to keep trying new things and keep learning. My background is industrial design, so at the beginning of MDIT I found that some of the design methods used were the opposite of the methods from industrial design, which confused me.
But once I accepted and embraced the differences, I found that combining different design methods can lead to deeper thinking and better solutions.
MDIT is an opportunity to push your design practice forward into new areas, rather than staying stuck in what you learnt in your undergraduate degree.
What advice would you give someone interested in advancing their career in design innovation and technology?
1. Prepare yourself with an open mind to new areas of design thinking.
2. If you get the chance to go on a traveling studio study tour, take it – you will learn a lot and definitely won’t regret it.