My thoughts on design, interaction and interaction design.

I am Bori Lee and used to be a designer based in Seoul, Korea. My academic background is in Visual Communication Design. After graduation, I worked for an architectural firm and carried out a wide variety of architectural projects’ graphic design including sports facilities, showrooms, and a gallery. By moving to Pittsburgh and starting master degree here at Carnegie Mellon University, the new phase of my life just began.

What is design for me?

It is impossible to describe me without design. It is not only what I have been associated with almost one-third of my life, but also the subjects that I have been the most passionate about. However defining the meaning of design is getting harder and harder as I learn more about it. This is because it is sometimes an aesthetically indulged creature but, in a different condition, soon turns into efficiency-seeking planning. The only thing I can be certain is that design is the highly intentional activity — and outcomes of the activity — for improving people’s lives.

What is interaction for me?

Beside its definition, there is the other question regarding design I’ve struggled with for a long time: why design disciplines should be divided, such as industrial design and graphic design? It seems that there are other fundamental principles of design regardless of the division. For instance, when I design a book as a graphic designer, textual of paper and structure of the book are important for me as well as layout and typography. I can be a textile designer and an architect at the same time.

Designed by Irma Boom for textile designer Sheila Hicks. It somewhat look like a delicate object or fabric with the frayed edge rather than a book. Sheila Hicks:Weaving as Metaphor, Yale University Press, 2006. Photo courtesy Institut Néerlandais Paris
Sheila Hicks:Weaving as Metaphor, Yale University Press, 2006. Photo courtesy Institut Néerlandais Paris
I designed this book intending it reminds mortarboards so that the book itself can be a memento of college years. 2012 Yearbook of Visual Communication Design Department of Kookmin University, 2013

Throughout my experience, especially in the fields of communication design and architecture, I found interaction is the overlapped area of the different design realms. In my conclusion, interaction is the most integral principle of design.

What is interaction design for me?

In design practices, there is a narrow definition of interaction design; designing the way digital devices/services work with user; how they get input from users, how they guide user through their service to achieve their goals, and how they show information/output to users. Compare to the widely using definition, mine is more extensive. The book above is the result of interaction design from my point of view. By carefully utilizing physical features and strategies leading participation, the book makes readers intuitively evoke memories and emotions. I believe interaction design is also able to embrace other fields beyond design, such as technology and the humanities. This interdisciplinary characteristic is imperative for me to achieve my professional goal addressing today’s complex problems since it is only realized with collective knowledge.

I have posed questions and explored the field of design so far. Now it is the second round of my life. I hope I am able to improve myself who can provide positive impacts on our societies and environment.