The editorial point that 2D graphic design expertise is not enough for digital design, and more 3D thinking is required, is important (Comment, DW 7 March). However, as you also pointed out, the subject is still being defined. 4D thinking about dynamic form is required for much digital design, as it is for much non-digital design.
For non-digital design, as, for example, in retail design or restaurant design, the 4D is the dynamics of staff and system to the customer. The 3D is the quality of shop interiors and the 2D is the graphic material. The design experienced at Marks & Spencer compared to Joseph, or McDonald’s compared to a Conran restaurant, demonstrate the 2D, 3D and 4D differences.
In digital design, as in computer games, the 4D is the dynamics of “game play design”, the 3D is the virtual 3D modelled characters and scenography and the 2D is the graphic interface.
The games programmer or marketing departments currently tend to deal with most of the 4D design. However, the ethos of professional design is richer and the opportunity is there for designers to go much further.
Can design’s digital women (DW 7 March) succeed in adding more 4D to the current ethos of computer games industry where “shoot ’em up” and “boy-racer” values dominate?
Department of Industrial Design
De Montfort University
Leicester LE1 9BH