Implementing ‘Design for Do-it-Yourself’ in design education

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The technological changes that concern the tools for making have an effect on the type of profession designers will have in the near future. The traditional ‘industrial’ relationships between suppliers, manufacturers, designers and users alter rapidly, causing business models to change as a consequence [Beyond the Brand: Why Engaging the Right Customers Is Essential to Winning in Business, Dearborn Trade Publishing, 2004; MCPC: World Conference on Mass Customization, Personalization, and Co-Creation 2011, San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront, 2011], as many economic principles seem to be no longer valid [NV Weekblad De Groene Amsterdammer, De Groene Amsterdammer, Amsterdam, 2015]. While many education programs prepare students for a future in a traditional user–supplier relationship context, anticipating the recent changes should probably be considered [Open Design Now, BIS Publishers, Amsterdam, 2011].

The extended process of ‘design for DIY’, that is facilitating non-designers to design and make an object or tool for themselves, by creating a suitable platform and design environment, includes a range of extra design steps, compared to traditional product design. (1) The pre-design stage, including setting the objectives, anticipating the audience, and the initial product design that is to be adapted; (2) establishing the design environment (including platform, inspiration, etc.); (3) designing the interaction between facilitator and amateur with the help of the design kit; (4) The final ‘translation phase’, in which the amateur design result is to be prepared for fabrication. The order in which these steps can be taken varies.

As part of a running research project, a small series of ‘design for DIY’ experiments has been executed, that helped testing specific approaches of how to facilitate amateurs. These test runs resulted in some very interesting insights regarding the exchange of information between facilitator and amateur, and regarding preferences and skills amateurs revealed to have. Conclusions from these experiments help to define the area of expertise that should preferably be integrated into (university) design curricula and will help to further establish a framework for ‘Design for DIY’ (DfDIY). These experiments help indicate the changing of the design profession caused by technological and societal changes and, most importantly, how to anticipate.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationManaging Complexity
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 8th World Conference on Mass Customization, Personalization, and Co-Creation (MCPC 2015)
EditorsJocelyn Bellemare, Serge Carrier, Kjeld Nielsen, Frank T. Piller
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-29058-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-29058-4
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event The 8th World Conference on Mass Customization, Personalization, and Co-Creation (MCPC 2015) - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 20 Oct 201522 Oct 2015

Publication series

NameSpringer Proceedings in Business and Economics
ISSN (Print)2198-7246


Conference The 8th World Conference on Mass Customization, Personalization, and Co-Creation (MCPC 2015)


  • Design for DIY
  • Do-It-Yoursel
  • Education
  • Design education
  • Product design
  • Physical DIY
  • Solution space
  • Kit
  • Toolkit
  • Design
  • Designer
  • Role
  • Mass customization

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