Paul Atkinson

Amateur Design


Output: Chapter In Book

This research examines the relative merits and limitations of professional design practices as opposed to amateur design practices, and discusses the likely future for both positions.

While amateur design has a very long history (far longer than that of professional design), DIY and amateur making practices have only relatively recently become the topic of academic discourse. As such, there has been very little written in the form of an overview of the design profession per se, and even less written in the form of a meta-narrative about amateur design practices.

With the advent and strong uptake of the Maker Movement, and the growth of both Post-Industrial Manufacturing and of Open Design as modes of design practice, this narrative provides a timely reflection on the nature of the relationship between amateur and professional design.

The writing reflects on over a decade’s worth of primary research underpinning the book chapter, involving interviews with professional designers (including Bill Moggridge (IDEO), Clive Grinyer (Tangerine, Samsung, Design Council), Richard Satherley (Satherley Associates) and many others); practice-led research with proponents of Post Industrial Manufacturing (including Lionel Dean and Justin Marshall); and interviews with proponents of Open Design (including Ronen Kadushin and Peter Troxler) along with discussions with numerous amateur makers, combined with secondary research using published texts.

Research Output

This collection of images displays the outputs from this project. Find out more details in the full case study below.

Research Method

There are a number of different primary research methods used in Atkinson’s published pieces, including archival research, semistructured, in-depth interviews with professional designers, and amateur makers, along with practiceled research into post-industrial manufacturing and Open Design.

Key Methodologies:

Full Project Output

REF '21

To learn more about the output, methods and dissemination of this work, explore the full project submission.

Other Projects By

Paul Atkinson