Design Languages in the Design Space: Silicon Valley

Tarja Pääkkönen, Melanie Sarantou, Satu Miettinen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


This interdisciplinary article explores the nature of language in design managers´ strategic contexts. Taken-for-granted assumptions behind language influence the way cues are selected and elaborated on through actors´ frames to ultimately become meanings. Language suggests and passes on cues and frames through which strategizing evolves. The design space is depicted as an entanglement of in-betweens where actors are immersed in language and materiality in their ongoing sensemaking. The hermeneutic analysis revealed that design languages partly extend managerial concepts, thus broadening horizons. Designers´ sensemaking in this longitudinal research showed traits of normalising and denormalising language use balancing between frame adoption and frame extension. Normalising language risks reproducing historical assumptions easily omitting ethics or harmful consequences. Designers´ denormalising language with material–linguistic strengths could trigger critical reflection on strategic assumptions. In addition, a design contribution is made to strategy and sensemaking studies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of DRS2020
Subtitle of host publicationSynergy: Volume 1
EditorsStella Boess, Ming Cheung, Rebecca Cain
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherDesign Research Society
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-912294-37-4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2020
MoEC publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventDesign Research Society 2020: Synergy - Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 11 Aug 202014 Aug 2020

Publication series

SeriesProceedings of DRS


ConferenceDesign Research Society 2020
Abbreviated titleDRS2020


  • design space
  • critical theory
  • strategy
  • sensemaking language

Field of science

  • Visual arts and design


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