Examples of design research and their implications for design and designing

Authored by: Alison McKay

The Routledge Companion to Design Research

Print publication date:  October  2014
Online publication date:  October  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415706070
eBook ISBN: 9781315758466
Adobe ISBN: 9781317636250


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There are many definitions of design in the literature, and probably other chapters in this book. Adams et al. (2011) provide a categorisation of how designers from different disciplines categorise their design practice; these categorisations range from systematic decision-making and translation processes through to creative freedom and exploration. The case studies introduced in this chapter are based in product design. Key characteristics of product design for this chapter are that it:

starts with a brief that identifies a problem to be solved;

results in the definition of a solution of a physical product and, as a result, includes a shape definition;

includes cognitive processes such as analysis (and evaluation), decision-making, synthesis (of needs, requirements, concepts, details, prototypes, and so on) and communication;

is iterative and requires reflection time (Schön and Wiggins, 1992); and

(both design and designing) is a part of a bigger whole and does not occur in isolation.

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