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"Progettare è un gioco, giocare un progetto"

Bruno Munari

The theme of the 2017 edition of Brera Design District is Designing is a game, playing is a project.
This year we treasured the experience we had with Brera Design Days, event organised and produced by Studiolabo and Brera Design District. From October 1st to October 9th 2016 we reflected on and discussed about various topics regarding design and project planning, among which smart cities, graphics, hybridisation, interaction design and gamification.
The success gained by this last topic was what really inspired the choice of the theme. A reflection on the practice of game as an opportunity to design, in particular on the importance that gamification may acquire in service design and in the interaction and communication between brand and customer.

The theme is a quote by Bruno Munari and strongly refers to his imaginary and design approach. Munari worked a lot on the concepts of game and toy. In Da cosa nasce cosa he wrote: “We should also create didactic toys for adults to remove prejudice and train the mind, to set hidden energies free».

Never stop playing, not even, and especially not while designing.
We asked ourselves what we can learn by playing that can be used in both our profession and our everyday life.
For this reason we developed a manual showing how game dynamics, if extracted from the mere recreational context, might become applicable rules and practices for design: from communication to services, from product to marketing.

Ten things we learn by playing and designing:

1. Whenever you fail you improve yourself.
2. Clear objectives and immediately visible results justify the effort.
3. Simulating is better than recounting.
4. Even the most brilliant game system can be confirmed or contradicted only by using it.
5. Playing simplifies complexity.
6. The more the game is abstract, the more the packaging is the key for selling it.
7. If you play, you learn.
8. Even the smallest change to a rule might disrupt the game.
9. Every game has a life span, let’s accept it.
10. Playing is a free choice.

We asked Cristiano Seganfreddo to share his view on the common ground existing between game and design. According to Cristiano Seganfreddo «The activity of design is the professional part underpinning every game to think, understand and reply to reality with its inhabitants, i.e. all of us, with an action that becomes an object, a service, a gaming platform. For this reason the purpose of design is so broad that limiting it to a trade fair diminishes its very objective. Design is City, metropolis, sustainability, vision, gender, sex, technology, knowledge, politics, citizen, integration, innovation. It’s simply us. Design is community».

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