Design – An Introduction
A design is a blueprint or specification of the structure or form of an object or entity, or its functional output or performance, or the resultant of this blueprint or specification in the desired form or shape. The verb to design normally indicates the act of developing a design, but it also may imply the ability to adopt that design as the basis for future development. A designer usually composes a design with reference to a reality from which general ideas about the nature, scope, and priorities of the subject to be developed can be evolved. Designing can also refer to the process by which a design is produced and implemented.
Two broad design approaches are generally used. One approach, which is sometimes called a mechanical abstraction, consists of abstracting physical reality on the basis of generic or practical principles. The second approach, known as an inside-out approach, concentrates on understanding the functions of physical entities and their interactions inside a controlled system. An example of the second design approach is the study of the production system inside an airplane, which combines the knowledge of numerous mechanical parts inside the plane itself. A typical example of the mechanical abstraction approach is the computer simulation of a complex combustion engine.
Industrial designers and product development companies have developed a wide variety of design approaches over the years, each of which has particular applications in specific circumstances. In the past, only major architectural and engineering firms could undertake product design and development. Today, however, new technology and increased globalization have made it possible for small firms to develop innovative products that rival the quality of large corporate producers. Many smaller firms use a combination of design approaches, such as simulation, digital design, and technical drawing.