A student, a product, a process: a fresh look at ‘design games’ in the Habraken tradition

Brendon Clark, Sofie Widding


In the changing climate of design education, programs attempt to prepare their students for professional practice in an uncertain job market. Educators attempt to equip their students with the skill sets and the development model to effectively contribute to innovative work practice wherever they may end up. Here we revisit Habraken’s ‘concept design games’ to explore the value of the ‘developing/playing combination’ of design games, and how that tradition has been mixed with participatory design traditions. Through an example of a student-managed design project developing a board game for a client, we explore the role design games and designing games play in extending the value of design games into industrial practice. We conclude that the structure provided by games and the ‘in-play development’ that occurs, enables the student to invite multiple stakeholders into the design process in a way that provides valuable insights of their practice as well as her own.

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