John Chris Jones

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
John Chris Jones

John Christopher Jones (John Chris Jones) is a Welsh designer. He was born in 1927, in Aberystwyth, Wales. He studied engineering at the University of Cambridge, and went on to work for AEI in Manchester, England. His 1970 book Design Methods is considered a major text in design.

Collaborating with engineers, Jones advocated ergonomics and the consideration of user-centred issues not part of engineering skills and attitudes at the time. When the results of his ergonomic studies of user behavior were not utilized by the firm's designers, Jones set about studying the design process being used. Jones was also frustrated with the superficiality of industrial design at the time and become involved with ergonomics.

Design methods as an area was driven by:

  • Inability to balance individual, group, societal, and ecological needs;
  • Lack of purpose, order, and human scale;
  • Aesthetic and functional failure in adapting to local physical and social environments;
  • Development of materials and standardized components that were ill-suited for use in any specific application;
  • Creation of artifacts that people did not like

Jones wasn't actually addressing design as presently conceived. He set out an entirely original philosophy of design—one that questioned the aims, goals and purposes of designing. He stated that one of the reasons why he focused on Design Methods was

". . . it's not another way of doing design, you see, it's a way of doing what designers don't do at all."

At the end of the 1950s he published an article "A Systematic Design Method" articulating ways to integrate ergonomic data into the engineering design process. His emerging ideas about Design Methods was to integrate both rationality and intuition—a common thread in the formalization of Design Methods and how it was interpreted by other groups. In 1962 he was one of the instigators of the influential conference on design methods, which led to the formation of the Design Research Society, of which Jones was Chair 1971-73. In 2004 he was presented with the Society's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jones also realized that designers needed to move out of focusing on expression and modes of production and begin to address the definition of a problem to be solved. He commented that

"the future job of a designer is to give substance to new ideas while taking away the physical and organizational foundations of old ones. In this situation, it is nonsense to think of designing as the satisfaction of existing requirements. New needs grow and old needs decay . . ."

From 1970-74 Jones was the first Professor of Design at The Open University.


  • Jones, John Christopher, Design Methods: seeds of human futures, John Wiley & Sons Ltd., Chichester, 1970; 2nd edition, John Wiley & Sons Ltd., 1992
  • Jones, John Christopher, Essays in Design, John Wiley & Sons Ltd., Chichester, 1984
  • Jones, John Christopher, Designing Designing, Architecture Design and Technology Press, London, 1991
  • Jones, John Christopher, The Internet and Everyone, Ellipsis, London, 2000

External links[edit]