We design and do it because we love it / Professional, Pro-Am and amateur collaboration in the design process: daydream or nightmare?
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There is a growing need and desire in graphic design to make design more “useful, lasting and democratic”. By involving more people in the design process professional designers in various fields of design are exploring ways to heed the call for a more open, constructive and collaborative approach to design. Professional, amateur and professional amateur (Pro-Am) collaboration in design processes has been an influential force in the development of design culture over the past few decades, particularly in the field of computational media, for example in ‘open source’ software development. Pro-Am’s find themselves in between the realm of professional and amateur, possessing the skills of professionals and the devotion of amateurs, without making a living from their efforts. One of the main points of this investigation is to show how Pro-Am and amateur involvement in design processes has revolutionized the collaborative creative process. Standpoint: Stimulating and directing professional and professional amateur collaboration in design processes will foster “more useful, lasting and democratic forms of communication”. Investigating Pro-Am work ethics give a clear idea how the Pro-Am design projects are organized ‘openly’, giving participants open access to tools and information and an open structure to be creative and collaborate with each other. Academic approaches to collaborative design, such as participatory design and meta-design give a more in-depth view how professional designers and developers can stimulate and direct collaboration with Pro-Am and amateur participants. The focus of this investigation is to examine how professional designers can learn from Pro-Am work ethics and employ the meta-design methods for collaboration the design process. Will this collaboration contribute to ‘more useful, lasting and democratic forms of communication’? ‘do Studio’ is a concept for a collaborative design project that builds on an existing design initiative, originally developed by communications agency KesselsKramer , to illustrate the open organization of the Pro-Am and the collaborative design methods of meta-design. The aim of the ‘do Studio’ concept is to envisage the creation of a large-scale collaborative design project, to demonstrate how professional and skilled Pro-Am designers can direct such a creative design process.