To be good at design, you must connect with people. A good design must be empathetic, which means that it identifies with a person’s values and empathizes with his or her situation. Creating products that are favoritist, however, are ineffective. To make a social impact, businesses must have an authentic voice and promote the correct values. Good design should empower people, rather than merely benefit them.
The question of what defines design is a perennially challenging one. Nigel Cross’s Designerly Ways of Knowing, a compilation of canonical papers, offers no definitive definition. Instead, he offers a fragmentary list of characteristics, including rhetorical, exploratory, emergent, reflective, and risky. These terms do not seem to capture the broader scope of design, but they do convey some of its essential characteristics.
Defining design thinking
One of the most important components of defining design thinking is the use of a process called stepwise Design Thinking. In this method, you iterate and refine your concepts until you have solved the problem. Every interaction with the user is an opportunity for learning. You may not have a good idea of what the problem is, but a stepwise design process can help you avoid making the same mistakes again. The process is based on a series of steps that you take in a stepwise manner, and is often referred to as “modes.”
Defining design as a process
A design process is the evolution of a solution set, x1,x2,…,xn, in which the probability of different elements being chosen by the end user is progressively smaller until the object reaches the level of maximum concreteness. As the process proceeds, decisions are made which favour one solution over the other. Hence, the probability of success of a design is a function of the decisions made during the process. As the process progresses, more attractive options are discarded.
Defining design as a form of visual language
Defining design as a form-of-visual-language starts with the idea that it is a language that has meaning and intent. The atomic design elements must have a semantic meaning, and all of the visual units must work together in a coordinated way. In other words, you cannot create isolated visual units without first defining the meaning of each element. Each element must be a part of a larger whole, and the visual language of the product should be composed of these components.
Defining design as a social construct
The concept of “design” is a social construct, a cultural construct that represents a set of shared ideas and perceptions. Those who make these ideas, or those who create them, are collectively responsible for making them a reality. Although social constructs don’t represent objective reality, they can have a definite meaning to people who share them. Likewise, the meaning of certain words or ideas can be different for different groups of people.
Defining design in mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is a discipline that deals with the definition, selection, and construction of physical artefacts. Artefacts are defined as having intrinsic properties and multiple design structures. The design structure of a physical artefact is comprised of various types of elements and relationships. Historically, there were only two kinds of elements, such as functions and parts. Today, however, design is increasingly concerned with a broader range of structures.