design & anthropology


design & anthropology


“Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible."
- Don Norman, The Design of Everyday Things
Hey, I'm Claire!

I'm a design anthropologist interested in creating effortless experiences for and with others. 

My goal is to make explicit the intersections between culture and design, and bring people into the design process so that its outcomes are appropriate and useful for the communities which they serve. 
There's no radioactive goop or gamma rays in my origin story, but there is a disappointing woodworking class. 

My sophomore year of college I took a materials and processes class to fulfill a requirement for an industrial design major I would never complete. 

As a part of that class, we were given a product to create every month -- a salt shaker, a spatula, a candy bowl. At the start of each project, I would ask my professor, "who's it for" or "why are we making it," without ever receiving an adequate answer. 

The project that pushed me over the edge was a laser cut acrylic bowl that was only supposed to hold one piece of fruit at a time. One.
an apple sitting on a laser cut acrylic stand
As an environmentalist, for starters, these projects irked me because they were such a waste of materials.

But on top of that, I had not chosen industrial design as my major so that I could add to an already over-saturated market of kitchen supplies. I had joined the program hoping to learn about human-centered design, & how to use design in a way that strengthens, empowers, and supports communities.

My industrial design coursework never once talked about the impacts of design on people or systems — but my anthropology elective did.

I promptly switched majors, and thus began my ongoing journey with design anthropology. 

Using anthropological perspectives and methods as foundational elements of my design work has made me a better designer. It has given me the tools and the language to confront my biases and assumptions, to situate my designs and my work in larger contexts, and to design for a future that encourages diverse ways of knowing, thinking, and being. 
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