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Are you Tinkering or Designing? Answered

Hi there, I would like to know your thinking about folowing questions: 1. Where do you see the difference between tinkering and designing? 2. It is said that a design product has value. How about the output of a tinkering process? Thnaks for your comments mayari



11 years ago

I would say that tinkering is on a concrete basis and wothout any fixed goal while as designing is often done on paper and in the mind of people with a clear aim. Some designers are tinkering to find some new ideas. As for the value. I think in design objects value is in the final product because of marketing or because it's what society wishes the product. In tinkering, the value lies in the process itself. Sometimes the outcome can be excellent, most of the time it's waste.

To me, the difference is a combination of motivation and skill-sets.

I tinker, because I do it for fun, with no particular urgency. Most of what I do is not to improve the function of an existing device, but to make a new item out of scrap or new-bought materials.

I'm not a designer because I rarely sit down and draw what I am going to do. Partly because I can't draw, but also because I prefer to hold the things in my hand while I plan in my head as I go along.

I don't usually write an Instructable and then take pictures to fit, I just take pictures of what I do as I go along, then write the Instructable to fit. I do have a few pre-written Instructables sitting unpublished, but they will certainly need rewriting after i actually get around to doing them.

Or is the difference focus? I'm a tinkerer because I ramble and write stuff stream-of-conciousness-style?

BTW, in our house, "a little tinker" means "a small cheeky person, currently about six and a half years old".

I agree with both westfw & tylerars24. I also consider both to be near synonyms. Generally, a tinkerer is designing with what's on hand as opposed to an engineer that has the resources to acquire the needed supplies. Designing tends to be done more as a team effort, where tinkering is more likely done by an individual. Steve Wozniak was a tinkerer, but ended up changing the world with one of his designs.

My analogy would be tinkerer is to garage builder, as designer is to P.E.(engineer). Engineers and designers may have a more rapid progression in the beginning of the design process because they are trying to develop a new idea and have more resources at there disposal. Where as a tinkerer has a pretty steady, but less steep progression of because the initial direction of design may be slightly less guided than an engineer or designer. When I think of designers I think of engineers, probably because I am an engineering student, but It seems that engineers have significantly more resources to develop a final product more quickly than a "tinkerer". I also agree with westfw's statement about tinkerers refining something that already works. I think they are both important to the progression of society.


11 years ago

I would say that tinkering is refining a process or thing that already works, to make it better, while designing means doing something more original. Both have value; it's a bit like the difference between art and craft. Sometimes you do so much tinkering with something that you wind up with more original material than many original designs.