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A design is a plan or specification for the construction of an object or system or for the implementation of an activity or process, or the result of that plan or specification in the form of a prototype, product or process. The verb to design expresses the process of developing a design. In some cases, the direct construction of an object without an explicit prior plan (such as in craftwork, some engineering, coding, and graphic design) may also be considered to be a design activity. The design usually has to satisfy certain goals and constraints, may take into account aesthetic, functional, economic, or socio-political considerations, and is expected to interact with a certain environment. Major examples of designs include architectural blueprints, engineering drawings, business processes, circuit diagrams, and sewing patterns.[1]

The person who produces a design is called a designer, which is a term generally used for people who work professionally in one of the various design areas—usually specifying which area is being dealt with (such as a textile designer, fashion designer, product designer, concept designer, web designer or interior designer), but also others such as architects and engineers. A designer's sequence of activities is called a design process, possibly using design methods. The process of creating a design can be brief (a quick sketch) or lengthy and complicated, involving considerable research, negotiation, reflection, modeling, interactive adjustment and re-design.

Design as a process

Substantial disagreement exists concerning how designers in many fields, whether amateur or professional, alone or in teams, produce designs.[2] Kees Dorst and Judith Dijkhuis, both designers themselves, argued that "there are many ways of describing design processes" and discussed "two basic and fundamentally different ways",[3] both of which have several names. The prevailing view has been called "the rational model",[4] "technical problem solving"[5] and "the reason-centric perspective".[6] The alternative view has been called "reflection-in-action",[5] "co-evolution",[7] and "the action-centric perspective".[6]

The rational model

The rational model was independently developed by Herbert A. Simon,[8][9] an American scientist, and two German engineering design theorists, Gerhard Pahl and Wolfgang Beitz.textile designer, fashion designer, product designer, concept designer, web designer or interior designer), but also others such as architects and engineers. A designer's sequence of activities is called a design process, possibly using design methods. The process of creating a design can be brief (a quick sketch) or lengthy and complicated, involving considerable research, negotiation, reflection, modeling, interactive adjustment and re-design.

Substantial disagreement exists concerning how designers in many fields, whether amateur or professional, alone or in teams, produce designs.[2] Kees Dorst and Judith Dijkhuis, both designers themselves, argued that "there are many ways of describing design processes" and discussed "two basic and fundamentally different ways",[3] both of which have several names. The prevailing view has been called "the rational model",[4] "technical problem solving"[5] and "the reason-centric perspective".[6] The alternative view has been called "reflection-in-action",[5] "co-evolution",[7] and "the action-centric perspective".[6]

The rational model

The rational model was independently developed by Herbert A. Simon,[8][9] an American scientist, and two German engineering design theorists, Gerhard Pahl and Wolfgang Beitz.[10] It posits that:

  1. Designers attempt to optimize a design candidate for known constraints and objectives.
  2. The design process is plan-driven.
  3. The design process is understood in terms of a discrete sequence of stages.

The rational model is based on a rationalist philosophy[4] and underlies the waterfall model,[11] systems development life cycle,[12] and much of the engineering design literature.[13] According to the rationalist philosophy, design is informed by research and knowledge in a predictable and controlled manner.

Example sequence of stages

Typical stages consistent with the rational model include the following:

  • Pre-production design
    • Design brief or Parti pris – an early (often the beginning) statement of design goals
    • Analysis – analysis of current design goals
    • Research – investigating similar design solutions in the field or related topics
    • Specification – specifying requirements of a design solution for a product (product design specification

      The rational model was independently developed by Herbert A. Simon,[8][9] an American scientist, and two German engineering design theorists, Gerhard Pahl and Wolfgang Beitz.[10] It posits that:

      1. Designers attempt to optimize a design candidate for known constraints and objectives<

        The rational model is based on a rationalist philosophy[4] and underlies the waterfall model,[11] systems development life cycle,[12] and much of the engineering design literature.[13] According to the rationalist philosophy, design is informed by research and knowledge in a predictable and controlled manner.

        Example sequence of stages

        Typical stages consistent with the rational model include the following:

        • Pre-production design
          • <

            Typical stages consistent with the rational model include the following:

            • Pre-production design
              • Design brief or Parti pris – an early (often the beginning) statement of design goals
              • Analysis – analysis of current design goalsEach stage has many associated best practices.[15]

                Criticism of the rational model

                The rational model has been widely criticized on two primary grounds:

                1. Designers do not work this way – extensive empirical evidence has demonstrated that designers do not act as the rational model suggests.[5][6][16]
                2. Unrealistic assumptions – goals are often unknown when a design project begins, and the requirements and constraints continue to change.[4][17]

                The action-centric model

                The action-centric perspective is a label given to a collection of interrelated concepts, which are antithetical to the rational model.[6] It posits that:

                1. Designers use creativity and emotion to generate design candidates.
                2. The design process is improvised.
                3. No universal sequence of stages is apparent – analysis, design and implementation are contemporary and inextricably linked.[

                  The rational model has been widely criticized on two primary grounds:

                  1. Designers do not work this way – extensive empirical evidence has demonstrated that designers do not act as the rational model suggests.[5][6]The action-centric perspective is a label given to a collection of interrelated concepts, which are antithetical to the rational model.[6] It posits that:

                    1. Designers use creativity and emotion to generate design candidates.
                    2. The design process is improvised.
                    3. No universal sequence of stages is apparent – analysis, design and implementation are contemporary and inextricably linked.[6]

                    The action-centric perspective is based on an empiricist philosophy and broadly consistent with the agile approach[18] and a methodical development.[19] Substantial empirical evidence supports the veracity of this perspective in describing the actions of real designers.empiricist philosophy and broadly consistent with the agile approach[18] and a methodical development.[19] Substantial empirical evidence supports the veracity of this perspective in describing the actions of real designers.[16] Like the rational model, the action-centric model sees design as informed by research and knowledge. However, research and knowledge are brought into the design process through the judgment and common sense of designers – by designers "thinking on their feet" – more than through the predictable and controlled process stipulated by the rational model.

                    Descriptions of design activities

                    At least two views of design activity are consistent with the action-centric perspective. Both involve three basic activities.

                    In the reflection-in-action paradigm, designers alternate between "framing", "making moves", and "evaluating moves". "Framing" refers to conceptualizing the problem, i.e., defining goals and objectives. A "move" is a tent

                    In the reflection-in-action paradigm, designers alternate between "framing", "making moves", and "evaluating moves". "Framing" refers to conceptualizing the problem, i.e., defining goals and objectives. A "move" is a tentative design decision. The evaluation process may lead to further moves in the design.[5]

                    In the sensemaking–coevolution–implementation framework, designers alternate between its three titular activities. Sensemaking includes both framing and evaluating moves. Implementation is the process of constructing the design object. Coevolution is "the process where the design agent simultaneously refines its mental picture of the design object based on its mental picture of the context, and vice versa".[6]

                    The concept of the design cycle is understood as a circular time structure,[20] which may start with the thinking of an idea, then expressing it by the use of visual or verbal means of communication (design tools), the sharing and perceiving of the expressed idea, and finally starting a new cycle with the critical rethinking of the perceived idea. Anderson points out that this concept emphasizes the importance of the means of expression, which at the same time are means of perception of any design ideas.[21]

                    Philosophy of design is the study of definitions of design, and the assumptions, foundations, and implications of design. There are also countless informal or personal philosophies for guiding design as design values and its accompanying aspects within modern design vary, both between different schools of thought[which?] and among practicing designers.[22] Design philosophies are usually for determining design goals. In this sense, design philosophies are fundamental guiding principles that dictate how a designer approaches his/her practice. Reflections on material culture and environmental concerns (sustainable design) can guide a design philosophy. An example is the First Things First manifesto which was launched within the graphic design community and states "We propose a reversal of priorities in favor of more useful, lasting and democratic forms of communication – a mindshift away from product marketing and toward the exploration and production of a new kind of meaning. The scope of debate is shrinking; it must expand. Consumerism is running uncontested, and it must be challenged by other perspectives expressed, in part, through the visual languages and resources of design."[23]

                    Approaches to design

                    A d

                    A design approach is a general philosophy that may or may not include a guide for specific methods. Some are to guide the overall goal of the design. Other approaches are to guide the tendencies of the designer.

                    Some of these approaches include: