Design culture is a central scientific category within the humanistic design studies designating the topic and the contextualizing interpretation of design. Given the fact that both design artifacts and design practice are seen as imbedded in a design culture as a whole, a range of relations to formal and informal institutions, to markets and media, to designers, to users and consumers are viewed upon as conditions for interpretation of form and meaning. Thus, a design cultural viewpoint is essential to understand how marketing, historiography and other forms of presentation of design are communicated through media, professions and institutions of present-day media and consumer culture.
Although design culture is not a newly coined term – it arose at the interface between culture studies and critical design historiography – the last decade has seen an international trend towards a consolidation of educations, magazines and research environments within this area. This is particularly true in Great Britain, but in Holland as well as in Finland various initiatives concerning design culture have been made. Among the specific fields of research interests within the Department of Design and Communication, the following should be mentioned: Fashion, media and branding, aesthetics of design, criticism and presentation of design and Scandinavian Design Culture.
The objectives of the research programme are:
- Mapping and delimiting of institutions and forms of relations constituting the design culture as well as sharpening and operationalizing the understanding of phenomena and concepts characterizing design culture
- Sharpening and profiling humanistic approaches to design with the further aim of elucidating and activating them in inter-disciplinary design research carried out across faculty and institution boundaries
- Pooling resources and creating networks for national and international activities and publications focusing not only on design culture but also on the research environment itself.
The Kolding campus of the University of Southern Denmark (Danish abbreviation: SDU) should become the perfect place for seminars and conferences on design culture with close contact to relevant Danish research environments at the various schools of architecture and design and universities and museums.