Last edited 22 Mar 2021

Design process essentials

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[edit] Introduction

Design refers to the art of making a drawing or pattern to illustrate how something is made. A design concept means a general abstract notion, principle or central idea relating to a certain range of things. It is the underlying or generating thought, idea, philosophy, method or process for a design proposal, scheme or process.

Many designers believe that the output of a design is the symbolic representation of an artefact for implementation. The final product should include a design space, a body of knowledge about the artefact, its environment, its intended use and the decisions that triggered the creation of the design.

[edit] The intention and beginnings of designs

Any design activity is driven by the indispensable requirement of something. The subsequent need inspires invention and creativity.

In design, a need stands as a motivational force that provides the basis for defining the design problem. It also acts as a starting point in the design process.

The general attribute or characteristic of all design processes is the intention to devise a plan or prototype. The need or intention is the basic element of all designs as they relate to the problem that needs to be solved.

Intention or need also refers to users’ requirements. Without users' requirements, there is no design.

[edit] Production of design alternatives and design results

Design can be understood as the projection of what is proposed before it is produced. It is also the production of a model to support further work before it's completed. Design alternatives and representations help to provide conceptualisation and comparative design decisions.

However, in the presentation of design alternatives and justification of certain decisions, it is essential that knowledge of how the designer arrived at such conclusions should also be presented. This will help to expand an understanding of the design and provide background knowledge for future design works.

[edit] The changing nature of design

It is wholly agreed amongst designers and design researcher that design activity is transformational; it constantly changes to accommodate the needs and requirements established. The restructuring of the design in different stages provides a chance for designers to achieve a preferred situation.

Design development describes the process of transforming the design in this activity in order to achieve future possibilities.

[edit] Creation of new ideas

The creation of new ideas is another key characteristic of activity in a design process. Design is a creative pursuit that generates something new and functional that has not been produced before.

The activity of idea production is haphazard; it is random and unsystematic. There are generally two approaches to producing new ideas either by abstraction or by elaboration.

Abstraction refers to producing ideas through generalisations that are applied to an object. It is a mental representation of a process by which an individual constructs such as abstraction.

Elaboration is the process of further expanding the idea or abstraction using key details that also explain or develop the initial idea. Elaboration means developing the specifics of a design through the application of greater details.

[edit] Design problem solving and decision making

Design can also be looked at a as problem solving activity or an endeavour that seeks to lead to decisions or conclusions. In any design work there is the possibility of error if the solutions do not accurately relate to the problems.

When design problems are poorly structured, it causes complexity and makes it more difficult to determine the pertinent constraints and requirements. Decision making through comparative analysis seeks to make a comparison between a series of design alternatives throughout the process.

[edit] Identifying constraints

Recognising design constraints is an essential factor of successful design work. This goes hand in hand with appropriating satisfactory solutions to the identified constraints.

The limitations can only be met by finding the right elements and components that should be assembled together to fulfil the predetermined constraints.

[edit] Diversity in design solutions

Due to complexity of design problems, there are a great number of solutions that can be given to the same design problem. The quality of solutions can be assessed and compared to find a more optimal solution.

The evaluation of different design solutions activates a sense testing, modifying and redesigning. This demonstrates the evolutionary nature of design processes. The evolution of design activity helps to consolidate the constraints and requirements identified in a particular design problem.

For more detailed insight into this topic, see the article entitled Building design process.

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