Jacket Image

Enlarge Image

208 × 156 mm
208 pages
12 Mar 2018

Listening to Design A Guide to the Creative Process Andrew Levitt

Listening to Design leads readers into the unique world of the creative process. Drawing on his experience as a teacher, psychotherapist and architect, Andrew Levitt breaks down the creative process, from the moment an idea appears through to the final presentation of a project. Using stories, examples and insights, Levitt offers a rarely seen glimpse into the rich and often turbulent creative process of a working designer. He highlights the importance of active listening and the essential role of empathy in solving problems and overcoming obstacles, revealing how the process of design is a vehicle for personal growth and development.

The wide range of anecdotes and practical advice of Listening to Design will engage readers working in all creative fields. Through sections on ‘Storytelling and the Big Idea’, ‘Listening and Receiving’, ‘Getting Stuck’, ‘Empathy and Collaboration’ and ‘Presenting and Persuading’, the book signals a shift towards staying true to our creative instincts and learning to trust the power and surprising resilience of the creative process. This timely book is essential reading for designers, architects and creatives everywhere.

‘Most insightful and instructive are Levitt’s stories about students’ struggles and how Levitt, as their teacher, assists them in managing the challenges inherent in the creative process . . . Levitt offers sound advice.’ – ARLIS/NA Reviews

‘Levitt combines his background as an architecture professor and certified Jungian psychotherapist into a guidebook for those who want to create. From start to finish, the creative process is examined through a psychological lens, which will be sure to inspire new ideas and reduce stress. Levitt pays particular attention to the importance of active listening and approaching creative problems with empathy.’
Applied Arts Magazine

‘In his new book, Listening to Design, Andrew Levitt examines the profound psychological journey that often accompanies the design process. As an architect, teacher and psychotherapist, Levitt’s interests lie at the intersection between successful design and emotional development, a link perhaps not immediately obvious, but one that he convincingly argues is of critical importance . . . His key insight is that to be a successful architect and effective teacher of design, it was – and is  – necessary to delve into the self. This realisation led him to psychology and to look into its relationship with architectural practice . . . Levitt’s objective in his classes is consequently to open up alternative, original routes for his students to take to achieving successful designs . . . He articulates these ideas with clarity and a deftness of touch, using anecdotes and firsthand experience to enliven and enrich his central theses. Levitt’s belief that architectural theory and psychotherapy can work harmoniously together is both compelling and convincing . . . Levitt’s book is recommended to anyone with an interest in the connections between creativity in design and psychology.' – The Psychologist

‘Andrew Levitt’s unusual background as a teacher of architecture and a psychotherapist has inspired him to write a book describing many practices which I did not realize were part of my own creative process. The act of drawing as a way of communication, meditation as a way of opening oneself to a higher power, “listening to feedback from your head, heart and gut”, openness to collaboration and overcoming ego, as well as the demands of others in order to be true to yourself – these are all important lessons to learn. Not just for designers and architects, but for everyone in all walks of life.’ – Mira Nakashima, creative director of George Nakashima Woodworkers

‘Of all the subtle creative tools available to the architectural designer, listening may be the most difficult to portray. In this book, Andrew Levitt provides a unique window into this practice. Using autobiographical narrative, experiential examples, his integrated role as an architect and therapist, and his simple humanity, Levitt helps us understand the nature of listening in the creative design process. This he does with a magisterial progress through the body, mind, and hearts of his students.’ – William Woodworth, principal, William Woodworth Architectural Design, Toronto

‘Levitt has a rare ability to integrate insights from the fields of architecture and psychology, revealing the internal processes that enable creative design. Using beautifully narrated vignettes drawn from his teaching and design practice, Listening to Design describes techniques for overcoming creative impasses and finding your own inner passion. It also provides valuable insights for art, design and architecture educators as well as therapists working with creative clients.’ – Esther Sperber, founder of Studio ST Architects, New York

Listening to Design offers a rare insight into the psychology of the design process, particularly the special relationship that exists between tutor and student. Andrew Levitt is a wonderful storyteller whose tales will be relevant to those in all fields of design, as well as the general reader interested in creativity. Through his immersion in the way of design thinking, Levitt gives us an eloquent and sympathetic portrait of the design community – its poignancy, frustrations and pleasures.’ – Gregory Votolato, Course Director and Lecturer, Victoria & Albert Museum; Tutor, Royal College of Art

Show all

Andrew Levitt teaches in the design studios at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, Canada. He has also trained and practised as a psychotherapist. He is the author of The Inner Studio: A Designer’s Guide to the Resources of the Psyche (2006).

1 Design as Therapy
First Dress
Four Functions

2 Listening and Receiving
Desk Crit Advice For Students
Desk Crit Advice For Teachers
Creative Timelines
Channelling Design

3 Storytelling and the Big Idea
The Idea, the Whole Idea and Nothing But the Idea
Protecting the Idea
How Do you Know if an Idea is Good?

4 Learning from Design
Developing the Big Idea
Design Language
First Thought, Best Thought
The Physical Model

5 Getting Stuck
The Purpose of Getting Stuck
A Masterclass in Music
Case Study
The Rule Of Force
Standing Up

6 Empathy and Collaboration
Conscious Studio Collaboration
Listening to Design

7 Presenting and Persuading
Final Review
Put it to the Test