GENERATION Z: EXPLORING PERSONALITIES, INTERESTS AND INFLUENCES IN YOUNG DESIGNERS
Editor: Bohemia, Erik; Kovacevic, Ahmed; Buck, Lyndon; Brisco, Ross; Evans, Dorothy; Grierson, Hilary; Ion, William; Whitfield, Robert Ian
Author: Conrad, Franziska (1); Underwood, Gary (2)
Institution: 1: Arts University Bournemouth, United Kingdom; 2: Bournemouth University
Section: New Paradigms 1
DOI number: https://doi.org/10.35199/epde2019.54
Design is a broad topic, and it attracts a wide range of talent. Product designers - whether students or professionals - are a diverse group of individuals with mixed abilities in a variety of skills. As an integral element of design education at undergraduate level, design projects in particular appear to highlight this diversity of characteristics. At Bournemouth University two design projects - at level 5 and 6 respectively - have proved noticeably enlightening in differentiating between designers’ innate strengths and weaknesses. As a result a number of ‘designer personalities’ were identified: the Doers; the Dreamers; the Ideators; the Negotiators; the Visionaries; and the Whatevers.
Personality analysis tools such as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the NEO Personality Inventory have become increasingly established in the workplace, and attempts have been made to apply such techniques to the design studio. In addition, the identification of individual learning styles – and corresponding teaching styles – has become a core feature in education. This paper investigates whether the identification of defined personality types and traits within project-based product design education is justified, and to what extent such characteristics may be affected by external influences. Drawing on a survey conducted with undergraduate students at levels 4, 5 and 6 - as well as design professionals – the interests, inspirations and aspirations that may help to shape designer personalities are explored, and the results shed new light on the emergent characteristics of tomorrow’s designers. In a world in which the role of Renaissance Designer has become a near-impossibility, the authors discuss the differing student strengths and weaknesses within a single project, and whether current design education methods are failing to reflect the needs and wants of Generation Z.