What does design mean

What does design mean and why is it important?

What does design mean, you might ask yourself. Then you are probably not alone. There are many perceptions of what design means and implies. In addition, there is no finished definition of the word design. If you ask those who know a little more about the subject, you will get different answers depending on who you ask. Without going in too deeply on design theory. I will still try to give you an overall guidance on what design is and why it is important. But first let’s look at one of the most common reasons why the concept of design causes confusion.

What does design mean

The general perception of design

The most common perception of design is that it is only about the color and shape of a product or service. But design is actually not color and shape. Although this is often the term used in colloquial terms. What is meant by the concept of design is actually the qualities and qualities of the product because of the outcome of a design and thought process. It is thus the result of design that the public usually aims at when the buddy says “Have you seen what a nice design this new watch has!”.

So the concept of design can have different meanings depending on the context in which it is used. In the example above, the word can be considered to. Serve as a reference to a design process that has previously taken place. Although most are not aware or reflect on this. Even more confused? Okay let’s examine the concept of design a bit more.

What does design mean?

To summarize the concept of design, it could be described as:

Based on a purpose create something to serve someone (yourself, other people, society and the World) with one (or more) needs as a starting point.

Design is an approach to finding solutions to needs or problems based on a purpose. Needs need not be known. The problems need not be well defined. It may suffice to set up a target image or vision, in other words, a notion of what is to be accomplished. Design also has one or more receivers like IKEA has. Design should contribute something to someone for a value to occur.

The design process or methods used will depend on the known and well-described needs or problems. But even the severity of what is to be solved is crucial for the procedure.

Why is design important?

To answer why design is important, I can reconnect to what design actually does. Design is therefore ultimately about solving problems based on needs. But it’s not unique to design. So how does it usually look if design is not used as an attack way?

The traditional way of attacking

In the past, traditional problem solving (originating from rationalism) has been the predominant way to work. Traditional problem solving is based on using a purpose to collect as much facts as possible, and then to produce the most accurate solution possible. Once a solution is determined, it has been implemented and only when it has been in use has it been evaluated. If we look to the IT world and the creation of IT systems. This has contributed to work carried out according to Vattenfall’s models and that many products, services and systems have not delivered the right effect or any effect at all when a bet hit the wrong.

The value of design as an approach

In contrast to the traditional way of solving problems, Design takes its approach through experience-based knowledge (empirical). The hallmark of design is to examine the reality (the real situation and its actors) and try to understand the problem rather than directly trying to find an ultimate solution to it. The value of investigating the problem is that the perspective is shifted from resolving A problem that is considered given. To understand it and to start from these insights when a solution is developed. By working in this way, new knowledge is created and a holistic understanding that does not seldom lead to the actual problem description need to be reformulated during the course of work.

What does design mean

Next, design differs further from the traditional way of solving problems. Instead of trying to find a single solution to the problem, it is taken at an early stage in the design process to produce several possible ideas on how the problem can be solved and prototypes are built to test and evaluate them. This in turn gives new insights that are used as a basis for selecting the best solution and working on it. This is repeated until sufficient benefit can be demonstrated and the solution is considered good enough. This work thus provides higher accuracy to achieve the right effect than traditional problem solving because the effect can be measured already while the design process is in progress. In addition, there are more benefits.

Here are listed some of the key benefits of working with design as an attack approach:

  • Design creates the prerequisites for a successful partnership between clients and contractors where the client has more influence to steer towards the desired effects
  • Design focuses on solving the real needs
  • Design puts the user and the customer at the center
  • Design is inclusive in nature and encourages active cooperation where all stakeholders need to collaborate to achieve a successful outcome
  • Design contributes to increasing qualitative values. This in turn leads to competitive advantages.
  • Design enhances the understanding of your business and your customers, enabling you to take good business decisions
  • Design contributes to sustainability and long-term thinking by ensuring the whole

What areas can the design be used for?

Design can be used for everything from developing or further developing products, services and service to building houses and planning cities. Design can be used to model databases and IT systems. Design can be used to design business offerings using strategic models. Design can be used to produce new collections of clothing. The criteria are that it follows a design process, has a purpose and that it serves someone based on a need.

Please read our next post in the series on Design: How is practiced design?

Within a few weeks we will write more about design. Then we look further at how design is practiced, what is meant by “Design thinking” and what a designers role is!

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