The word design is of English origin and it is linked to the concept of plan or project, to ideas such as draw, intention, or configuration. The term implies the conjugation of two levels in permanent dynamic tension, the abstract level of conceiving/projecting and a more concrete, of giving form, materializing the idea. Furthermore the term does not refer only to manufactured objects; it can be used to refer to the design of a molecule, a structural arrangement, or the construction of curricula (Denis, 2000). It is also considered that a universal definition of design, valid independently of historical and socio cultural contexts, does not exist (Barnard, 1998). But, even if designing, as any other activity, is constrained by the social and cultural role assigned to the designer in a given society (Dormer, 1990; Downton, 2003; Manzini, 1993), that does not mean that we cannot present a general definition of design. So, although there are different areas of intervention for the designer, from common objects, to visual and verbal communications, services, systems, and environments, we can consider design as the conception and planning of the artificial (Margolin, 1995), having in mind the direct consequences for the consumer/user of this way of given material form to an idea (Bonsiepe,1999).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Designer: Trained professional who conceives and executes projects that can be reproduced with the help of machines. There are specialists in different areas of design as: the industrial designers that project objects like tables, or chairs; graphic designers whose work is mainly bi-dimensional, like logos or posters.
Web Design: New area among design specialties that demands professionals with new skills. They have to respect the principles of graphic design (legibility, color harmony) with the demands of new technology.
Layout: Sketch that enables the client to view the overall appearance of design establishing the relationship between images and text. The term is used in activities such as graphic design and advertising.
Green Design: New perspective of design that is concerned with the sustainable development. According to this approach, designers have to be concerned not only with the aesthetics and functionality of the object but also with the environmental problems caused by the product during the manufacturing process, during its life span and after it becomes obsolete.
Prototype: The first of a series; the term is used in activities such as industrial design to refer to a model, or models, made before the production starts.
Design Methodology: Method that promotes the rational thought; implies the adoption of sequential (but flexible) structure from problem to solution that includes all the phases since the moment we enunciate the problem, collect information and begin the conceptual work, until the solution.
Corporate Identity: The elements of design that represent recognizable identity of an organization visible through communication material.