Kate Catterall is a designer and educator who studied at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. She is currently a design researcher and practitioner in Austin, Texas.
Initially trained in the materials and methods of the industrial age—as a silversmith, product and furniture designer, she started her career designing one-off products and environments for the luxury market in the United Kingdom. Catterall has lived in the United States since 1993 undertaking a broad range of projects through which she explored the history, form and cultural relevance of design in her new country. Her research currently focuses on the ethical dilemmas faced by designers (and society) as the far-reaching consequences of the design act and the broader role of the designer in culture are reassessed. Through experimental interventions she reframes design as a central form of cultural production and a practice that reaches well beyond commercial application; exploring the potential of designed artifacts as polemical tools capable of transforming actions, lifestyles and opinions.
“Essentially, we can say that designerly ways of knowing rest on the manipulation of non-verbal codes in the material culture; these codes translate ‘messages’ either way between concrete objects and abstract requirements; they facilitate the constructive, solution-focused thinking of the designer, in the same way that other (e.g. verbal and numerical) codes facilitate analytical, problem-focused thinking; they are probably the most effective means of tackling the characteristically ill-defined problems of planning, designing and inventing new things.”
— Cross, Nigel. Designerly Ways of Knowing. Springer, London, 2006. Page 10