BA-Thesis “Selbermachenlassen”

The title was initiated by my own furious yet pleasureful creation process of a toilet roll holder in summer 2016. An experience that led me to the question if I could create designs that „contain“ the interaction and satisfaction of the users own making of things and sense.

It is an exploration on the subject of designs that engage people in such way that a financial or/and emotional benefit is generated from their own making processes. I discuss three ways this achieved in a broad field of designs: Whilst IKEA creates economical profit in the customers construction labour, technical and social developments led to an ongoing boom of the maker movement. In contrast to both, products like Lego have no use at all – except the joy making (possessing a self made Lego-spaceship is not the same as bricks in a loose or prebuilt assembly!).

In summary my consideration of principles reveals the idea of designing „absolute“ self-making as paradox: If a design lets you do something, it is not your own but the designers determination.
Nonetheless there is two ways of approaching values of self making through. One is finding the right balance of „undesigned freedom“ that allows (and requires!) for self-making and „predesigned certainty“ that leads to the desirable results.

Another approach is to changing the perspective pf the user as a „given limitation“ to considering his perception and ability as a potential we can exploit use through the interaction we design. By designing an experience of joy in self made creation and meanings we can initiate a self driven learning process that leads to independent yet desirable creation which not even the designer could expect.

As an assumption on my statement a perspective on patterns of „evolutionary learning processes“ and their future use in machine learning is given but left for further studies.

Unfortunately this thesis was not very well received by the experts assessing so far. „You can not jump from IKEA-manuals over backing mixtures to evolution theory“ is an argument I understand but not fully agree with.
I consciously jumped borders of subject because I think this is what future – if not recent – interaction designers should do.


These war, dass in ihnen Werte entstehen können, welche über das hinaus gehen, was dem Designer alleine möglich ist, zugleich aber ein innerer Widerspruch ihrem Potential, Grenzen setzt.
Eine Betrachtung aus unterschiedlichen Perspektiven, zeigte Zusammenhänge und Verschiebungen auf, aus welchen ich Ideale und mögliche Wege folgerte, mit dem Paradoxon designter Freiräume umzugehen.