Introduction to Design Theory introduces a comprehensive, systematic, and didactic outline of the discourse of design. Designed both as a course book and a source for research, this textbook methodically covers the central concepts of design theory, definitions of design, its historical milestones, and its relations to culture, industry, body, and ecology, language, society, gender, and ideology.

Demonstrated by a shift towards the importance of the socio-cultural context in which products are manufactured and embedded, this textbook showcases design theory as an emerging sub-discipline of design, unique in its practice-based approach and its broad perception of design. It offers an in-depth understanding of the central concepts, such as "form" and "function", "theory" and "practice", through a discussion of key case studies and historical examples, such as the advent of the view of design in antiquity, the introduction of mass production to modernist design, or the ideological shifts in design in the mid-20th century, as well as analytical tools for further dissection and learning in practice. With a focus on a combination of several theoretical knowledge bases: aesthetics and philosophy, critical theories, cultural studies, design history and design anthropology, the reader is enabled to approach design as a central pivot around which contemporary culture revolves, reflecting, reaffirming or challenging social and cultural structures.

Aimed towards undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as teachers and scholars, from across the design disciplines, Introduction to Design Theory invites readers to engage with design from an interdisciplinary perspective, departing from the traditional academic compartmentalization of practice, history and philosophy.

Introduction  1. Definitions of Design  2. Form and Function  3. Design and (or as) Language  4. Design Between Theory and Practice: Applied Theories of Design  5 Design, Culture, and Social Institutions  6. Design and Industry  7. Design, Ecologies and the Body  8. Design and Ideology