On the complexity of contemporary design problems


  • Rui S. D. Alão




Design methodology, Complexity, Collaboration, Systems theory, Metadesign


This article investigates some characteristics of contemporary design problems. We argue that the complexity of these problems has grown to the point of jeopardizing traditional design methods, mainly due to instability of the solution landscapes as the mobility of the systems in which they are immerse. As a main contribution, we recommend the creation of designers and users mixed communities and suggest that newer methodological processes be conceived, prototyped and tested to cope with high complexity design problems.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Rui S. D. Alão

Designer digital, sócio do estúdio Carambola Digital, arquiteto pela FAU USP, especialista e mestre em Design pela Universidade Anhembi Morumbi (UAM) e doutor em Arquitetura e Urbanismo pela FAU-USP. Professor do Centro Universitário Belas Artes e da Universidade Anhembi Morumbi. Participa como pesquisador do MediaLab (UAM) e do Grupo de Pesquisa Design e Convergência (Belas Artes).


ALSTYNE, Greg Van; LOGAN, Robert K. Designing for emergence and innovation: Redesigning design. Artifact: Journal of Design Practice, v. 1, n. 2, p. 120-129, 2007.

BERTALANFFY, Ludwig von. Teoria geral dos sistemas. São Paulo: Vozes, 2016.

CIPINIUK, Alberto; PORTINARI Denise. Sobre métodos de design. In: Design Método. Rio de Janeiro: Ed. PUC Rio, 2006.

JONES, John C. Design Methods. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1992.

MAU, Bruce. Massive Change. London: Phaidon, 2004.

MEADOWS, Donella. Thinking in systems: a primer. Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2008.

MILLER, Peter. The smart swarm. How understanding flocks, schools and colonies can make us better in communicating, decision making and getting things done. New York: Gildan Media, 2011.

MOORE, Alan. No straight lines. Cambridge: Bloodstone Books, 2011.

PAGE, Scott. Understanding Complexity. Chantilly: The Great Courses, 2009.

SANGIORGI, Daniela. Service design and systemic thinking. In: Colloquium on Metadesign, London: 2007. Disponível em: <http://attainable-utopias.org/tiki/DanielaSangiorgiMovie>. Acesso em: 03 ago 2020.

STURM, Ulrike. From Master-Design to Meta-Design. In: Colloquium on Metadesign, London: 2005. Disponível em <http://attainable-utopias.org/tiki/tiki-download_file.php?fileId=140>. Acesso em 06 ago 2020.

WOLFRAM, Stephen. A new kind of science. Champaign: Wolfram Media, 2002.

WOODHAM, Jonathan. Oxford Dictionary of Modern Design. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.



How to Cite

S. D. Alão, R. . (2020). On the complexity of contemporary design problems. DATJournal: Design, Art and Technology, 5(4), 24–40. https://doi.org/10.29147/dat.v5i4.280