Design: The design process


The design process is the name given to the various stages that we go through when we design something. Each stage in the process follows the one that goes before it and each stage is associated with a particular
phase in a design project.

Before going much further, itís worth remembering that designing is not always about creating a brand new product or service. In fact, in most cases itís about improving or modifying an existing product. When designing a brand new product or service, the design process will have more stages because we usually need to consider a wider range of options and alternative solutions than when we are simply modifying or redesigning an existing product.

A typical design project involves the following tasks:

  • understanding and describing the problem
  • developing a design brief with the client
  • carrying out research and investigation
  • generating ideas using techniques such as brainstorming and mind mapping
  • investigating solutions and applying scientific principles
  • developing an agreed set of design specifications
  • communicating the design solution using appropriate engineering drawings
  • realising the design solution
  • evaluating the design solution.

We shall look at what actually makes up each of these tasks later on. For now, you only need to be aware that designing something involves a series of tasks and each of these forms an important stage in reaching your eventual goal, an engineered product or an engineered service. If you find this difficult to remember, the diagram on the right shows the design process described only in terms of the key words that relate to each of the individual stages.

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