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Defining a design process


Design is the planning that lays the basis for the making of every object or system.

It can be used both as a noun and as a verb and, in a broader way, it means applied arts and engineering (See design disciplines below). As a verb, "to design" refers to the process of originating and developing a plan for a product, structure, system, or component with intention [1]. As a noun, "a design" is used for either the final (solution) plan (e.g. proposal, drawing, model, description) or the result of implementing that plan in the form of the final product of a design process [2]. This classification aside, in its broadest sense no other limitations exist and the final product can be anything from clothing to graphical user interfaces to skyscrapers. Even virtual concepts such as corporate identity and cultural traditions such as celebration of certain holidays [3] are sometimes designed. More recently, processes (in general) have also been treated as products of design, giving new meaning to the term process design.


The person designing is called a designer, which is also a term used for people who work professionally in one of the various design areas, usually also specifying which area is being dealt with (such as a fashion designer, concept designer or web designer). Designing often requires a designer to consider the aesthetic, functional, and many other aspects of an object or a process, which usually requires considerable research, thought, modeling, interactive adjustment, and re-design. With such a broad definition, there is no universal language or unifying institution for designers of all disciplines. This allows for many differing philosophies and approaches toward the subject. However, serious study of design demands increased focus on the design process [4][5].

Defining a design process

According to video game developer Dino Dini, in a talk given at the 2005 Game Design and technology Workshop held by Liverpool JM University, design underpins every form of creation from objects such as chairs to the way we plan and execute our lives. For this reason it is useful to seek out some common structure that can be applied to any kind of design, whether this be for video games, consumer products or one's own personal life.



For such an important concept, the question "What is Design?" appears to yield answers with limited usefulness. Dino Dini states that the design process can be defined as "The management of constraints". He identifies two kinds of constraint, negotiable and non-negotiable. The first step in the design process is the identification, classification and selection of constraints. The process of design then proceeds from here by manipulating design variables so as to satisfy the non-negotiable constraints and optimizing those which are negotiable. It is possible for a set of non-negotiable constraints to be in conflict resulting in a design with no solution; in this case the non-negotiable constraints must be revised.

For example, take the design of a chair. A chair must support a certain weight to be useful, and this is a non-negotiable constraint. The cost of producing the chair might be another. The choice of materials and the aesthetic qualities of the chair might be negotiable.


Dino Dini theorizes that poor designs occur as a result of mismanaged constraints, something he claims can be seen in the way the video game industry makes "Must be Fun" a negotiable constraint where he believes it should be non-negotiable.


It should be noted that "the management of constraints" may not include the whole of what is involved in "constraint management" as defined in the context of a broader Theory of Constraints, depending on the scope of a design or a designer's position.


An architect at his drawing board , 1893. The Peter Arno phrase "Well, back to the old drawing board" makes light of the fact that designs sometimes fail and redesign is necessary. The phrase has meaning beyond structural designs and is an idiom when a drawing board is not used in a design.




Something that is redesigned requires a different process than something that is designed for the first time. A redesign often includes an evaluation of the existent design and the findings of the redesign needs are often the ones that drive the redesign process. Some authors that nevertheless suggest that from the evolutionary point of view the functionality, and even the aesthetic sophistication of artifacts is best understood as a result of redesign rather than design, as all successful artifacts are outcomes of cumulative improvements. [6]



Typical steps


A design process may include a series of steps followed by designers. Depending on the product or service, some of these stages may be irrelevant, ignored in real-world situations in order to save time, reduce cost, or because they may be redundant in the situation.


Typical stages of the design process include:

Pre-production design

Design brief or Parti - 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 [7]) or service.

Problem solving-conceptualizing and documenting design solutions

Presentation - presenting design solutions

Design during production

Development-continuation and improvement of a designed solution

Testing- in situ testing a designed solution

Post-production design feedback for future designs

Implementation - introducing the designed solution into the environment

Evaluation and conclusion - summary of process and results, including constructive criticism and suggestions for future improvements

Redesign - any or all stages in the design process repeated (with corrections made) at any time before, during, or after production.

These stages are not universally accepted but do relate typical design process activities. For each activity there are many best practices for completing them. [8]


Date: 2015-12-11; view: 1419

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