Ethnography valuably informs design when applied in a variety of contexts, from medical and government to community, non-profit organizations. Ethno-graphic methods in conjunction with anthropologically contextualized analyses are the ultimate grounding elements for innovative design solutions. In this paper, I conceptualize design anthropology/ethnography within the process of design thinking. I present three distinct case studies of design ethnography conducted by undergraduates studying graphic design to highlight how designers incorporate ethnographic research and anthropological analysis in solving real-life problems. I showcase anthropology’s strength at synthesizing multiple data points to find patterns and draw conclusions about human behavior. Lastly, I reflect on the insights that ethnography and the empathy of anthropology bring to contemporary design and problem solving in general.

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