Open Design School Users Manual

The Open Design School Manual has two primary purposes. On the one hand, it outlines the principles and philosophy that inspired the ethos of the school, contextualizing them within a historical framework of design pedagogy and practice as seen from a 21st-century perspective.

On the other, it is a set of practical instructions laying out the steps necessary to launch a new Open Design School and make it operational. It is influenced by and borrows from many other prior experiments, initiatives and theoretical investigations (some but not all of which relate directly to design practice), and in turn, it is meant to be freely modified, updated and distributed online.

This document is intended as a manual outlining the key features of the Open Design School as a model. It recognizes that complex systems are difficult to create ex nihilo: in order for them to be stable and effective, they must evolve progressively from the implementation and adaptation of simple systems, a principle also know as Gall’s Law:

"A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system."

For this reason, this manual is meant to serve as a repository of prior knowledge and untested instructions that can be useful in the creation of just such a “simple system”, in the full knowledge that much of it will be disproven, altered, amended and replaced in the coming months and years, as hard experience gradually takes the place of research and speculation.


The Open Design School Users Manual
can be downloaded by
clicking on the image below 
ODS MANUAL coversinglepage







Why we need an Open Design School

Why we need an Open Design School